You know the feeling. Your supervisor tasks you with finding a suitable training curriculum to solve your organization’s respect (or lack thereof) issues. Maybe there is someone in your organization who could use a little sensitivity training. You also know there are a lot of options out there. Most try to solve the problem by creating awareness or putting a band aid on it and hoping it will go away. But you know that’s not the long term or profitable solution.

At the end of The Respect Effect: Using the Science of Neuroleadership to Inspire a More Loyal and Productive Workplace, Paul Meshanko gives a slight taste of a secret sauce for the ideal respect in the workplace training. While the recipe may be the same, some of the ingredients may differ. Some companies simply have larger budgets and bigger staffs to accomplish more but in the end the essence should remain the same.

What makes a solid respectful workplace training curriculum?

Blended learning approach

Unlike a traditional classroom setting, which can be costly or only an online learning curriculum, training should take a blended approach which incorporates both. Since respect is a topic that requires in person contact, participants should first work together in a classroom and use online learning as a reinforcement tool later.


This approach may require that you actually have one or more persons on staff that can handle training. If that is the case, then this is your best option to maximize sustainable results. These internal facilitators will not only be able to model the behavior but also have the power to become your organization’s greatest champions of respect in the workplace training or respectful workplace initiatives.

Applicable content

Respect is not necessarily the most exciting topic. The best way to get people interested and practicing respectful behaviors on a consistent basis is to make it applicable to their real lives. Have them talk about the person they most respect from growing up or ask them to give compliments to at least 3 people outside of work.

Keep it fun

No one wants to sit through another boring video or lecture. The latest neuroscience research indicates that in order for learning to stick, it needs to be novel. Allow people to work with one another or in small teams to create a collaborative environment.

Whichever curriculum you decide to use to train your people to be more respectful, hopefully it is one that has moved past basic awareness and sensitivity training and onto a contemporary multifaceted approach.