Find out what it means to me us.

Aretha Franklin’s interpretation of respect is recognised across the globe. In her version of Otis Redding’s original, she altered the lyrics to represent herself, a strong woman demanding respect from her man.  Aretha’s version went on to become one of the most famous female empowerment anthems of all time.

Respect at all levels can support a mentally healthy and psychologically safe workplace. This is fundamental. Respectful behaviours aren’t limited to someone’s position or title and therein lies their potential.

When respect is in-built in a company’s culture it can take many shapes:

  • You can see it – if there is no room for harassment or negativity in the workplace.
  • You can hear it – working in an environment where people from diverse backgrounds are free to share ideas and collaborate.
  • You can feel it – if you know you can do your job without worrying about being ridiculed or criticised.

A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found that respectful action and behaviours of employees at all levels was considered ‘very important’ by 72% of those surveyed, making it the top contributor to overall employee job satisfaction.

In workplaces where respect is ingrained in the culture, employees are more inclined to stay productive and motivated. In workplaces with little or no respect, employees report more conflicts and misunderstandings and have lower attendance and engagement.

I started my career in consulting at EMM. It’s safe to say starting out as a graduate can be daunting. You want to impress your colleagues, but you also don’t want to bite off more than you can chew and sink before you’ve had a chance to swim.

From early on, it was clear that EMM was the right place for me. I entered meetings with senior team members and clients where my opinion was valued. I had open and honest conversations with colleagues where I always felt safe to be myself. I learned that in the world of consulting, everyone’s time is valuable and managing your own time is equally as important as ensuring that others within the team aren’t put out by commitments you make to internal and external clients. I felt (…and four years on still feel) respected and I know my views, my time and my wellbeing are of value.

Feeling respected contributes to the sense of empowerment I have in my role. We communicate openly, honestly and completely across teams, divisions and geographies. We’re absolutely engaged at all levels. I understand how my role contributes to the overall vision for, and purpose of, EMM. I feel like I’m part of the big picture and this makes me want to be the best I can be.


For over 50 years, Aretha’s voice has spelled out this simple, yet powerful word. Today, I’m lucky enough to work for a company where respect is not only a core value, but also an expectation that is realised every day.

By David Richards,
Senior Environmental Scientist

02 9493 9500