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The importance of having a dignity policy in the workplace

Posted on 23/11/2017 by Jayne Morris


In light of Anti-Bullying Week (Nov 13-17th) and the recent high-profile scandals flooding Westminster and Hollywood, we thought it would be appropriate to address dignity in the workplace. It’s not an issue to be overlooked and it’s important to understand where responsibility lies.  

Everyone has the right to feel valued and respected. In an effective workforce, it’s imperative that all employees have a sense of self-worth and feel appreciated by their team. A sense of dignity about their work can be achieved with a supportive network in place.

Compromising an employee’s dignity can have detrimental effects on individuals - as well as entire teams and the reputation of a whole organisation in general.

In this article, we have highlighted where the responsibility or dignity and respect lies for both an employer and employee:

Employer's responsibility 

Employers have a duty to ensure a safe and respectful working environment, where no member of staff feels threatened, intimidated or discriminated against for any reason.

If you fail to tackle bullying and harassment, not only are you letting down your staff but morale and productivity within your workforce will be decreased and your brand itself is harmed. You run the risk of losing talented employees and their negative experience with you will tarnish your reputation as an employer.

So what should you do? At TPP, we have our own Dignity at Work Policy, which outlines our code of conduct, the accompanying procedure to prevent harassment and bullying. It also provides guidance to resolve any problems should it recur. We are fully committed to equality of opportunity and promoting a harmonious working environment, where every employee is treated with respect and dignity.

Some people think that bullying and harassment can be a grey area; what some consider acceptable behaviour, others don’t. This is why an internal policy is an important document to possess, as it will outline in black and white exactly what behavior is unacceptable.

Managers and supervisors have a duty to implement the policy and make sure every effort is made to ensure harassment or bullying does not occur. All employees have access to the policy and are aware of their right to raise any problems in confidence.

Ultimately, the employer’s responsibility is to provide a workplace that is free from harassment and bullying. Although they cannot control the individual actions and behaviours of their staff, they can control the training that staff receive in relation to the right to dignity and way that issues are dealt with retrospectively.

At TPP, everything that we do is based on a set of core principles, which are embodied in our team and underpin our commitment to helping people and organisations in our sector;

  • We exceed expectations

  • We do the right thing

  • We work in partnership

  • We specialise

  • We adapt

Therefore, protecting our workforce’s wellbeing is at the heart of our business and we strive to ensure all stakeholders feel valued and respected.   

Employee’s responsibility 

Employees also have their own responsibility to help maintain a safe and pleasant working environment.

All employees should discourage harassment and bullying by making it clear that they find such behaviour unacceptable. Additionally, they should offer support to colleagues who suffer such treatment and are considering making a complaint.

It is important to be aware that it is the impact of the action, conduct or behaviour which is relevant, and not the motive or intent behind it.

If your organisation doesn’t have a policy on dignity in the workplace, consider creating and implementing one to ensure you have a strategy in place to protect your workforce.

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