All Articles Leadership Management 3 significant costs of a disrespectful work culture

3 significant costs of a disrespectful work culture

Most senior leaders have never been asked to manage their work culture. Most don’t know how.

3 min read


3 significant costs of a disrespectful work culture


Do senior leaders pay attention to the health of your company’s work culture?

Most senior leaders have never been asked to manage their work culture. Most don’t know how.

What leaders do know is how to drive performance. That’s well and good, but the truth is that managing results is half the leader’s job. The other half? Managing workplace respect.

Too few workplaces are filled with respectful interactions and relationships.

Workplace respect is present when leaders show appreciation for team members’ ideas, efforts and accomplishments. Workplace respect grows when cooperation is the foundation of company operations, not competition.

Workplace respect leads to team members caring about product quality (which boosts creativity and consistency), caring about each other (which boosts teamwork) and caring about customers (which boosts customer loyalty).

Where respect is inconsistent across workplace interactions and relationships, three significant costs occur.

The first cost of disrespect — loss of talent

TinyPulse’s 2019 engagement survey found that only 26% of employees feel strongly valued at work. Combined with their findings that 33% of employees feel undervalued, that’s nearly 60% of the workforce that feels disrespected.

It is no surprise that this same survey found that 43% of employees would leave their jobs for a 10% salary increase from another company. The 2018 percentage was only 25%.

The second cost of disrespect — loss of reputation

Today’s always-connected technology tools mean news – good or bad – travels fast. Platforms like Glassdoor enable employees to rate their company’s culture, leadership, pay, benefits, strategy, and more.

Glassdoor validates great companies with their Best Companies to Work For annual report. Companies like 24/7 Wall Street scour Glassdoor ratings to identify the worst companies to work for.

Even well-regarded companies can find themselves under the microscope if they don’t respond quickly and respectfully to concerns raised by employees. In 2018, Google staff held walkouts globally to protest the lack of the company’s response to sexual harassment scandals.

The third cost of disrespect — loss of money

Disrespect erodes employee engagement.

Gallup’s research finds that disengaged employees cost their company the equivalent of 18% of their annual salary. That’s a significant hit to performance, profitability, and sustainability in your organization.

Gallup’s global research finds that 67% of the workforce is not engaged. That costs money! In a company with 500 employees earning an average salary of $50,000 each, the cost of disengagement is millions of dollars each year.

Don’t leave workplace respect to chance.

Subscribe to my free twice-a-month newsletter. Subscribers enjoy insights from my Amazon best-seller, “The Culture Engine,” and from my upcoming book, “Good Comes First – How Today’s Leaders Create An Uncompromising Company Culture,” to be published on Sept. 21, 2021, by BenBella Books.

And, subscribe to my YouTube channel, where you’ll find more short, crisp, and clear episodes of my “Culture Leadership Charge” video series.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for SmartBrief’s free e-mails on leadership and business transformation, among SmartBrief’s more than 200 industry-focused newsletters.