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Workplace Civility Training

The EEOC Task Force on Harassment recommends that employers consider implementing workplace civility training programs for managers, supervisors, and employees as part of a holistic harassment prevention effort.

Many employers choose to provide workplace civility training to serve a variety of purposes. Civility training promotes respectful and considerate behavior on the part of all members of the workforce. This type of training has long been offered by employers seeking to reduce staff conflicts or prevent bullying in the workplace.

Rather than focusing on illegal conduct and protected categories, this training focuses on the positive - what behaviors are welcomed and promoted by everyone in the workplace.

A comprehensive workplace civility training and education program can include:

  • Engaging members of the workforce in discussions about respectful behavior at work
  • Clarifying the norms for acceptable workplace conduct
  • Skill-building for positive interpersonal communication and conflict resolution

The role that managers and supervisors play in promoting a respectful and harassment-free workplace culture cannot be overstated. Workplace civility training for managers and supervisors teaches them techniques for better communication skills, effective supervision, and healthy conflict resolution.

When workplace leaders have developed skills for better communication, everyone in the workplace can benefit. Civility becomes the standard by which all employees conduct themselves with their supervisors, coworkers, customers or clients, and any others they interact with on the job. Harassment is not compatible with this type of work environment.

Workplace civility training can also be an avenue to educate managers and employees about how to use inclusive language that demonstrates respect for all people in the workplace.

Employers who are clear about reinforcing healthy relations in the workplace, and respectful  conduct among coworkers tend to have more positive overall workplace cultures. On the flipside, when incivility persists in a workplace, harassment and/or bullying is more likely to be tolerated.

Additional resources about training for strategies and skills that foster workplace civility

EEOC Training Institute Outline for Respect in the Workplace Training

How To Improve Your Listening Skills, Free Management Library

Lecture Series, Conscious Communication Model, skills for communication, active listening, and conflict management process

“42 Ways to Stand Your Ground,” Conscious Communication Institute

A Primer on Managing Intergroup Conflict in a Multicultural Workforce, Commission on Human Relation, City of Los Angeles, November 1999

Assertive Advocacy Communication Skills So Others Will Listen to You Better and Bother You Less, Kidpower

Ten Best Practices for Team Members, Kidpower

Conscious Apologies, Kidpower

Workplace Violence Prevention, Kidpower

Free Management Library, How to Improve Your Listening Skills

Emailing Angry, Think Before You Hit Send, Kidpower

“So Your Workplace Is Toxic: How Can You Fix It?”, Knowledge@Wharton

American Psychological Association Center for Organizational Excellence, Workplace Bullying Extensive Resource List