A Business Owner’s Guide to Promoting Professionalism at Work | By 2024, the U.S. labor force is expected to reach 163.8 million workers. The growth rate is slightly lower than it’s been in the past due to an aging population and lower birth rates.
That said, millions of people still enter the workforce each year. Students graduate from college or tech school, stay-at-home parents restart their careers, and people emigrate from other countries.
The challenge is, many first-time workers have to learn workplace professionalism on the job since there isn’t formal training for it.
Luckily, you can encourage professionalism at work with a few simple strategies. Read on to learn how you can increase professionalism at your own business.
Lay Out Workplace Policies In an Employee Handbook
While some workplace etiquette might seem obvious to you, it might not be to someone entering the workforce for the first time. A great solution is to create an employee handbook with clear guidelines.
Include policies on professional appearance, attendance, and social media. You can even include things like how to greet customers and email etiquette.
As part of your onboarding process, you can require employees to read the handbook and sign a document saying they’ve read it. If problems come up, you can refer them to the handbook.
Require Professional Attire
A great way to put your employees in a professional mindset is to require professional clothing or uniforms. This will also ensure that all of your staff looks professional and are recognizable as employees.
If you have an office-based business, you can require business casual or business formal. For service companies, consider a t-shirt, vest, or jacket with a company logo on it.
If you have a customer-focused business, you can also include printed name badges as part of the uniform. This will hold your staff accountable and put your customers at ease.
Lead By Example
Another great way to encourage professionalism is to lead by example. Be the model employee for your staff to emulate. If they don’t see you following your own policies, they won’t feel the incentive to follow them either.
Model professionalism during your interactions with customers, in staff meetings, in water cooler chat, and in emails. If your employees can see a consistent example from you, they’re more likely to follow suit.
Smile at customers, be respectful in your interactions with your staff, and your staff will follow along. You can also set up a mentor program for new employees for more hands-on help.
Provide Consistent Feedback
If you notice an employee modeling the kind of behavior you’re after, compliment them on it. If they’re getting feedback on their behavior, they’ll feel valued and they’ll be more likely to continue it.
Once you have that open dialog with an employee, it’s also easier to talk to them if there’s ever an issue.
Professionalism at Work Starts With You
Professionalism at work isn’t something that you can learn in a classroom. That’s why it’s often learned at someone’s first job.
If you create a workplace handbook, require professional attire, lead by example, and provide consistent feedback, you can encourage professionalism in the workplace.
To learn more tips for managing your business, keep scrolling through our blog.