Tolerance: a key ingredient to a healthy workplace

Why is tolerance so important in the workplace?

In a global and fast-changing world, organizations must keep pace with trends and evolve to stay relevant and ahead of their competition. One of the critical factors to their success is the ability to leverage the full potential of people. Delivering an outstanding customer experience, offering tailored solutions, and driving operating efficiency and profitability all demand teamwork, and a lack of tolerance can hinder team development and company progress. 


For businesses large and small, tolerance is essential to working toward goals and developing creative solutions to a wide range of workplace issues and difficulties. Demonstrating tolerance in the workplace requires a concerted effort to develop an understanding of another’s background, experiences, and viewpoints in order to foster mutual respect between colleagues.


Why is tolerance so important in the workplace? Keep reading this article to see the benefits of tolerance and explore the best industry practices in PayU’s example.



What is tolerance in the workplace? 

Tolerance can be defined as a fair, objective attitude toward people whose lifestyles differ from one’s own. At the personal level, tolerance means adopting an open mind in your interactions with those who differ from you because of innate and acquired characteristics. 


Although some researchers have pointed out that tolerance is related to happiness and contentment, many others have had difficulty examining the paradoxical question of whether tolerant people are happier than others or more likely to be tolerant of others’ differences.


The subject of tolerance is often surrounded by controversy as societies redefine what it means to allow others to be “others” or whether being overly tolerant exposes people to potential harm. The debate about the healthy limit of tolerance regularly emerges, prompting communities to ask where tolerance stops and indifference begins.


Why is tolerance essential in the workplace?

Tolerance is crucial in the workplace because we’re not born with prejudices. Still, as we’re exposed to society’s norms, we develop opinions and beliefs that don’t always align with those of our colleagues. 

When we adopt an attitude of inclusion and tolerance, we open up a world of possibilities: 

  • open and honest communication, 
  • creativity fostered by an exchange of ideas from across a broad spectrum of expertise, 
  • respect and trust between individuals, 
  • teamwork and coordination among professionals in the workplace, 
  • loyalty and productivity.


These are all key to increasing the overall quality of teamwork and organizational efficiency.

How to foster an environment of healthy tolerance in the workplace 

Zero-tolerance policies are used to describe all-or-nothing approaches to problems. In the workplace, zero-tolerance policies involve taking action against employees for even small instances of misconduct or rule-breaking. The idea is that by enforcing consequences that show little tolerance for exceptions, your company creates a safe and productive environment where employees know exactly what’s expected of them and what they can expect from others.


Carry out an audit before implementing any new policies

Before making a move an audit needs to be conducted to evaluate how many rules apply to the employees and whether or not they’re being enforced on a regular basis. This will help determine whether creating a zero-tolerance policy is feasible. 


It’s also important to keep track of employees’ feedback on the regulations that are already in place. These insights can be used to create a zero-tolerance policy that everyone is comfortable with. 


Follow legislative guidelines for documenting infractions

Enforcing consequences for violations of existing company policies or procedures needs clear documentation. This allows having evidence in case an issue with discipline or performance reviews arises down the road. Every manager who oversees the individual should be involved in taking disciplinary action as well. When you do take that action, be sure to document the violations and follow your company’s procedures on workplace violence and unacceptable behavior. 


Lay out a zero-tolerance policy

A clear policy will set expectations for all employees on issues related to unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Three key points of a successful zero-tolerance policy are:

  • Addressing issues such as acts of violence, threats, and bullying. 
  • Making it clear that these types of behaviors are not acceptable in the workplace.
  • Identification of consequences for violations of the zero-tolerance policy, up to and including termination.


Don’t overlook minor violations of company policies

It’s common for managers to let small infractions slide without severe consequences because they don’t want their employees to become discouraged by constant reprimands for things beyond their control. 


However, this defeats the purpose of a zero-tolerance policy. Unless the infraction is trivial, employees need to be informed that there will be some form of punishment if it happens again. 


Take immediate action

It’s easy for managers and HR staff to make threats about disciplinary actions when an employee breaks a rule. However, threats won’t have an impact anything if they aren’t enforced. Employees will quickly catch on to this and start choosing which rules they’re willing to break just so they can get away with more down the road.


After an infraction, immediate action needs to take place – a good place to start is listening to the employees’ side of the story. Also, updating employees about any new policies being considered is very beneficial, as then they can offer their input and feel included. This ensures that no misunderstandings happen later on. 


Enforce policies in a respectful manner

Although it’s important to enforce rules and regulations, it’s possible for actions to come across as overly authoritarian. When introducing policies, explaining violations in detail so employees understand exactly where they went wrong and why it isn’t acceptable according to workplace standards reduces confusion and future conflict.


Here are some respectful ways of introducing new policies: 

Introduce new rules gradually, one at a time, so employees have time to adjust. 

  • Give specific examples of how a particular rule was violated instead of being vague or general.
  • Provide reasons why certain actions violate existing policies, even if they’re just educated guesses.
PayU Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Enhancing tolerance through zero-tolerance policies

At PayU, we have a zero-tolerance policy toward any form of prejudice against a specific race, ethnicity, persons with disabilities, or the LGBTQ+ community.


Our Diversity and Inclusion Statement is closely tied to the core values of PayU:

  • Openness to the diversity of opinions that come from a medley of backgrounds and experiences,
  • Upholding the integrity of every employee by being a supportive colleague and confidante, bereft of any bias,
  • Displaying uninhibited courage to bring our complete honest selves to work,
  • Raising a toast to every employee who can celebrate their identity and become a true ally,
  • Taking complete ownership of being inclusive in our actions,
  • Facilitating unprejudiced collaboration with fellow team members, leaders, merchants, and partners – irrespective of their views and choices.



Tolerance through the lens of PayUneers

What does “being tolerant” mean to PayUneers? Find out by watching this video: