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This blog series by Lizzy and Frankie introduces Fair Work. This refers to all aspects of working for your organisation, from creating a job spec and developing a positive organisational culture to the day-to-day experience of working and progressing in your organisation. In this blog we explain ‘respect’.

What is Respect?

In fair work people are respected whatever their role and status. Respect involves recognising others as dignified human beings and recognising their standing and personal worth. At its most basic, respect involves ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of others. Mutual respect is an important aspect of everyday social exchange and is a crucial element of relationships in the workplace where a significant proportion of life is spent.

Crucially, mutual respect involves recognising the views, autonomy, status, and contribution of others. Many discussions of respect and dignity at work focus narrowly on issues relating to bullying and harassment. Respect as a dimension of fair work includes and goes beyond this to include dignified treatment, social support, and the development of trusting relationships.

Why is it important?

Respect at work enhances individual health, safety, and wellbeing. Dignified treatment can protect workers from workplace related illness and injury and create an environment free from bullying and harassment. Workplaces that recognise individuals as people with their own interests significantly impact better self-esteem, while giving value to the contribution that individuals make.

From the organisational perspective, respect not only avoids the negative impacts (and potential liabilities) arising from some forms of disrespectful behaviour, but it can also improve standards of communication and social exchange. Where workers believe that their contribution is recognised and valued, trust relationships are developed and the potential for worker involvement is enhanced.

Work is an important part of social life and the relations learned and reinforced in the workplace can spill over into other social spheres, creating more respectful and cohesive societies.

How can I implement Respect within my organisation?

  • A culture of respect requires that behaviours, attitudes, policies and practices that support health, safety, and wellbeing are consistently agreed, understood, and applied.
  • Be explicit about respect as an organisational value and a guide to practice, and start a dialogue around respect as it’s experienced in your own organisation.
  • Respect for workers’ personal and family lives requires access to practices that allow the balancing of work and family life.
  • Re-framing conflict can enhance respect in an organisation – think about differing views as potentially productive and creative. Ensure that interpersonal relationships and internal procedures exist to manage conflict in a constructive way.
  • Union expertise and networks on health and safety are a valuable resource, the use of which should be developed, supported, and maximised.

What are MGS doing as employers to enable Respect:

Museums Galleries Scotland is a values-led organisation (collaboration, courageousness, integrity and a passion for museums and galleries), committed to the ongoing development of a positive culture for its people. These values filter through to all aspects of our work and are reflected in our Behavioural and Competency Framework and our Reward and Recognition Framework.  We also talk regularly about our values in order to help everyone embed them consistently throughout their day to day work.

Respect covers many aspects of the employment relationship. We hold Living Wage and Investors in People Gold accreditation and we use this as a tool for development and an external perspective on our approach. We have a suite of organisational policies in place which set out our approach to our Employees’ employment experience and our obligations and expectations in relation to safeguarding both physical health and safety (such as the Fire Safety and Health and Safety policies) and mental health and wellbeing (through our Wellbeing, Grievance and Bullying & Harassment policies). We consider that fair and equal treatment of our staff is a clear marker of respect.

MGS shows respect for our employees’ work life balance by having flexibility in our working patterns to help our employees to achieve balance in ways that suit them. We currently have a number of staff working part time and compressed hours. We are happy to talk flexible working when recruiting, as we also believe this is one way to attract a diverse range of candidates.

We welcome applications from all sections of the community as an equal opportunity employer. We’re a Disability Confident Employer and will guarantee an interview to people with disabilities who meet the essential criteria in our person specification. We understand that people’s circumstances and health can change over time and encourage an ongoing dialogue between staff and line managers to understand and support this.

We’re also working to prioritise anti-racism across our organisation, and to embed anti-racism into all aspects of our culture. We will ensure that every member of staff at MGS has the support in place to work in an anti-racist way. Find out more about our anti-racism commitment.

What MGS would like to do:

We’re currently taking part in a pilot programme with an organisation called APT, which is working to bridge the disability employment gap.  They’re working with employers in Scotland by helping us to be better at attracting, recruiting, and retaining disabled people and those with long term health conditions. We’ve recently completed the “Employer Assessment”, which gives APT the opportunity to identify any gaps in our knowledge, expertise, or processes and this will form the basis of the “Action Plan” where we’ll review and improve our practices.

We’re currently in the development phase of the Delivering Change project. This aims to widen access and participation in culture and uses anti-racism and anti-ableism as guiding principles. As well as being for the sector, we’re also working to integrate change within our own organisation.