Treating people with dignity and respect is not just a noble and ethical principle, it is also a smart and strategic approach for HR professionals. At the heart of HR practice is the management of human capital, which means recognizing and valuing the unique talents, experiences, and contributions of each individual. This requires a culture of inclusion, empathy, and accountability that permeates every aspect of the organization.
As President of New York City SHRM, I am proud to say that our community of HR professionals is dedicated to promoting and practicing the principles of dignity and respect. We believe that every person deserves to be treated with fairness, equity, and compassion, regardless of their background, identity, or position. This means not only complying with legal and ethical standards, but also going beyond compliance to actively create a culture of respect that fosters trust, collaboration, and innovation.
One of the key ways we promote dignity and respect is through training and development programs that emphasize awareness, sensitivity, and communication skills. This includes educating managers and employees about unconscious bias, microaggressions, and other forms of behavior that can undermine respect and inclusion. It also means creating opportunities for open dialogue, feedback, and reflection so that individuals can learn from their experiences and grow in their ability to interact with others in a positive and respectful way.
Another important aspect of our approach is accountability. We recognize that treating people with dignity and respect requires not only good intentions, but also concrete actions and outcomes. Therefore, we hold ourselves and our organizations accountable for creating and maintaining an environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of harmful behavior. We also encourage employees to speak up and report any concerns they may have, knowing that they will be heard, taken seriously, and protected from retaliation.
Ultimately, treating people with dignity and respect is not just a matter of doing the right thing, it is also a matter of achieving organizational success. When employees feel valued, supported, and empowered, they are more likely to be engaged, productive, and committed to the mission and goals of the organization. They are also more likely to stay with the organization and contribute to its long-term success. Therefore, I encourage all HR professionals to make dignity and respect a core principle of their practice and to lead by example in creating a workplace that is inclusive, equitable and respectful for all.
Ken Meyer, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Principal, KWM HR Consulting LLC
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