Some rules are meant to be broken. Others are timeless. The Golden Rule, the idea that you should treat others as you want to be treated, falls in the latter category. Applying the Golden Rule in the modern workplace shouldn’t mean adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to managing people, but demonstrating respect, fairness and appreciation towards your team and coworkers – and moving away from biases.

“I see the benefits of embracing the Golden Rule every day. Leaning into the Golden Rule is forcing companies to think about the ways in which they offer value to employees, rather than just employees adding value to the company. It can be creating opportunities for learning, or offering non-standard benefits,” says Ryan Agresta, CEO of

Applying the Golden Rule to the workplace these days is also about diversity and inclusion – not just treating certain people how you want to be treated, but celebrating various backgrounds and perspectives.

“I’d like to see more initiatives by leaders aimed at trying to level the playing field for job opportunities, as so many open jobs are filled by industry-specific networks. This can be detrimental to people who come from non-traditional backgrounds,” adds Agresta. “Creating platforms for people’s skills to be realized and valued – rather than simply relying on experience – is a way that team leaders can embrace diversity and inclusion on a daily basis.”

From providing pay and role transparency to asking for feedback, here are concrete ways in which you can start applying the Golden Rule at work.

1. Treat others with respect

“Treating colleagues how you would like to be treated goes a long way to building and maintaining respect. You can not expect to be respected by your team if you don’t respect team members,” says Tracey Beveridge, HR Director at Personnel Checks.

According to her, in order to be successful at this, it’s important to pause and think about your actions on a regular basis – just because you think you’re being respectful doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

“Rather than being reactive, consider what the best response in a situation is likely to be, as well as how you would receive that response if you were in your team’s shoes. Try not to ask your team to do something that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. Muck in, get involved,” she says.

2. Recognize that everyone is different

Showing respect and appreciation also means recognizing that everyone is different and validating others’ experiences – even when they contradict your own. And this is especially important with a remote workforce. “We need to remember that whilst some employees are more than happy when left to their own devices, others need more regular contact,” according to Beveridge.

“Respect the fact that your team members will differ. Find out what they want and need from you, and adapt your approach accordingly.”

3. Review your decisions

To embrace the Golden Rule at work, you’ll need to take the time to review your decisions and ask for feedback. How can you serve your team better? What if you think you are treating people fairly but it turns out there is a sense of injustice festering in your team or some team members feel they are being taken advantage of?

“Take time to review your decisions; were they received as you expected? Ask for feedback, and take on board how your team members felt. Yes, treating people as you would like to be treated can be important, but that doesn’t mean that other people don’t perceive things differently,” adds Beveridge.

4. Provide pay and role transparency

“As a leader, you want to ensure you are transparent about pay and non-negotiables and that your job descriptions are inclusive,” according to Agresta.

This means applying the Golden Rule to your hiring process and offering full insight into a company and role to candidates who invest their time and energy into applying for a job. It also means being transparent about pay.

According to a Beqom report covered by Inc., ​​58% of employees would consider switching jobs for more pay transparency. It makes sense: When employers lack transparency about pay, the assumption is that there is a gender pay gap, or that you won’t be paid fairly. Be proactive about offering people the things they wish they didn’t have to probe about.

5. Hire for culture “add,” not fit

When it comes to the Golden Rule, you’ll also want to keep in mind that hiring for culture fit may do more harm than good. Think about it this way: If culture fit means disregarding other perspectives or being cliquey, you’re moving away from principles like fairness and respect.

“Hiring for a culture ‘add’ instead of a culture fit allows hiring managers to look at the experiences a candidate can offer and how they may add value to the team. The strongest teams are made up of unique perspectives and backgrounds, not people who ‘fit right in,’” says Agresta.