Stanford Business recently released an article that is making waves. In the article, they discuss a new book that argues how Corporate America is the cause of the American health crisis. The article points to several different cultural and environmental factors that are negatively affecting people – starting with how they don’t respect employees.

As a former recruiter, I noticed this unhealthy culture in many of the clients my company would recruit for. It’s actually one of the reasons I chose to quit and start my own company. It’s also one of the reasons why I try my best to respect employees and anyone who may work for me.

At the end of the day, you must respect employees if you want them to respect you. Here are some of the ways you can do that.

Don’t be a jerk.

If you want your employees to stick around, treat them with dignity. This means you can’t have unrealistic expectations, you must compensate them fairly and you need to be flexible when emergencies come up.

These were all things that were lacking in companies during my stint working as a recruiter. You basically had to win the middle management lottery and hope your boss wasn’t a jerk.

However, as the founder of a company, you can respect employees by not behaving like that jerk boss you once had. Think of all the things you hated that just didn’t make sense, and then don’t do them.

Prioritize health.

In the Standford piece, the author of the book mentions how corporate America just speaks platitudes as it pertains to health. Yoga classes and nap rooms don’t fix the overall problem that people are overworked.

Fortunately, this doesn’t need to be the case for your company. For example, I know my contractors give themselves time for self-care. In fact, I encourage it. I also give myself time for self-care. You need to respect employees and yourself when it comes to health and wellness.

Don’t waste people’s time.

Do you want to know what I always hated about my corporate adjacent life? The total lack of respect of time. Between pointless meetings and needing to look busy, I was beyond annoyed all the time.

One way to respect employees is to respect their time. Don’t waste time and money with pointless meetings that could have been a chat question in a project management system. Don’t give them ridiculous deadlines. Don’t expect them to work 80 hours for you as they too have families and other priorities.

By the way, this is especially true if they are contractors. Contractors don’t work for you full-time and have other clients, so don’t expect them to give you full-time hours.

Respect employees by respecting yourself.

When I say respect employees that includes respecting yourself. Have you ever heard the joke that your own worst boss is you? It may be a joke but it’s based on truth. Often times we are far worse to ourselves than any boss we ever had.

Keep an eye on the nasty tendency to be way too hard on yourself. Take care of yourself and be a stellar example to the people who work for you.