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Combating Workplace Incivility against Women through Comprehensive Soft Skills Training

  • By Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP
  • June 18, 2024

Gender-Based Workplace Incivility

Incivility is an issue that cannot be overlooked in the modern workplace. From subtle slights to overt discrimination, workplace incivility affects women disproportionately, leading to decreased productivity, higher employee turnover, and a toxic company culture. Proactive measures are crucial to create a respectful and inclusive work environment.

The Problem: Workplace Incivility and Its Impact

Workplace incivility refers to low-intensity, disrespectful behaviour that violates workplace norms of mutual respect. These behaviours, including rude remarks, exclusionary tactics, and undermining colleagues, contribute to the gender gap in a toxic culture. Women, in particular, face higher levels of such incivility, which can significantly impact their mental health, job satisfaction, and career progression.

The Impact on Women’s Well-Being

A study by Statistics Canada revealed that women report higher levels of workplace harassment than men. Based on the 2016 General Social Survey on Canadians at Work and Home, this study examined workplace harassment reported by individuals aged 15 to 64 who worked for pay that past year.

Some 19% of women reported experiencing workplace harassment, while 13% of their male counterparts reported the same. Types of harassment included verbal abuse, humiliating behaviour, threats, physical violence, and unwanted sexual attention or harassment.

This incivility impacts women’s:

  • Mental Health and Well-Being: Persistent incivility can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Job Satisfaction: Women experiencing incivility are more likely to feel disengaged and dissatisfied with their jobs.
  • Career Progression: Incivility can hinder women’s career advancement, limiting their professional growth and opportunities.

Broader Consequences for Organizations

The ripple effects of workplace incivility extend beyond individual employees. Companies facing high levels of incivility often struggle with the following:

  • Employee Retention and Engagement: High turnover rates and low employee morale are common in environments where incivility is prevalent.
  • Company Culture and Productivity: A toxic workplace culture resulting from incivility diminishes overall productivity and team collaboration.

The Solution: Soft Skills for a More Respectful Workplace

Soft skills play a crucial role in promoting a respectful workplace culture and fostering positive employee relationships. Essential soft skills for combating workplace incivility include:

  • Fostering Empathy and Understanding: Empathy cultivates a supportive and inclusive work environment.
  • Conflict Resolution Skills: Effective conflict resolution techniques help address and resolve disputes amicably.
  • Promoting Inclusivity: Inclusive practices ensure that all employees feel valued and respected. 
  • Leadership and Role Modelling: Leaders must model respectful behaviour and set the tone for a positive work culture throughout the entire organization. 
  • Enhancing Team Collaboration: Collaborative teams are more likely to support and respect each other. 

Our Approach: Customized Soft Skills Training

At The Soft Skills Group, we offer interactive workshops and customized training modules tailored to your organization’s unique needs. Our training equips employees with the interpersonal skills needed to:

  • Identify and promptly address uncivil behaviours.
  • Cultivate an inclusive and respectful workplace environment.
  • Encourage women and all employees to voice concerns without fear of retaliation.
  • Equip employees with strategies to intervene when witnessing incivility.
  • Enhance listening skills to understand and respond to colleagues effectively.
  • Deliver feedback in a manner that promotes growth and improvement.
  • Create a safe space for all employees to express themselves without fear.
  • Promote a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout and improve overall well-being.

Special Training for Leaders to Set the Tone

Leaders play a pivotal role in modelling respectful behaviour and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for incivility. Our leadership training includes specific soft skills training modules for leaders. 

The Benefits of Investing in Soft Skills Training

Organizations that invest in soft skills training experience numerous benefits, including:

  • Higher engagement and lower turnover rates, particularly among women.
  • Enhanced teamwork and communication across the organization.
  • Diverse perspectives leading to better innovation and problem-solving.
  • A workplace culture where respect is prioritized through diversity and inclusion training.
  • Individual and organizational growth due to ongoing training.

Combat Workplace Incivility with The Soft Skills Group

Combating workplace incivility against women requires an ongoing commitment to soft skills development. By prioritizing respectful and inclusive workplace cultures through sustained training efforts, organizations can create a positive work environment for all employees.

Ready to take the next step? Contact The Soft Skills Group (TSSG) today to learn how our customized soft skills training can transform your workplace culture and promote gender equality in the workplace.

Remember, investing in people management skills is not just about improving individual behaviours; it’s about transforming the entire organizational culture for the better. Together, we can build a more respectful, inclusive, and thriving work environment.

Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP

Diana is President of The Soft Skills Group Inc., and a senior training & development professional with over 20 years of experience in delivery, design & consulting with Fortune 500 companies, Universities & Colleges in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia. Read More