By Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, SBR Workplace Leadership Services
September recognizes National Workforce Development Month, and ensuring that workplaces succeed across the country requires professionalism. The desire to work in corporate America requires professionalism in order to heighten chances for hire and to be successful serving long-term in the world of business. According to William Nickels, James McHugh, and Susan McHugh, behaving like a professional is the best way to be a more competitive organization, attract stakeholders, and create healthy organizations. Although new careers have emerged over the past several years, such as, application developers, social media managers, cloud computing specialists, data scientists, generational experts, and more, the need for professionalism remains the same. How do you ensure your employees best represent your organization with the utmost professionalism? Review the following five tips:
In many organizations, email is still one of the most efficient ways to communicate with the team in a consistent way. Emails should begin with a greeting, body (call to action), and conclusion. They should be brief and to the point and provide a subject line that highlights the content. It is important to avoid impersonal and unprofessional language, such as “Hey”, “as soon as possible”, or using shortcuts, such as “Lol” or “Btw”. Keep the language direct and friendly, yet professional.
Customers may call your place of business, or your representatives may need to make calls to potential or current clients. When receiving incoming calls, it is important to identify the organization, who is speaking, and offer to help immediately. This creates a warm and inviting aura that allows the customer or potential customer to feel comfortable interacting with your business. For example, one might answer, “Good Afternoon, thank you for calling _____ organization. This is ______. How may I help you today?” Also, when making outgoing calls, it is essential to identify who you are, from where you are calling, and speak to an action. For example, “Yes, this is _____, calling from _____organization. I was calling to speak to _____ today about _____. Would you mind connecting me?….Thank you.”
When customers or potential customers come to your place of business in-person or you meet them outside of the office, it is important to shake their hand, or if they do not extend a hand, nod your head and offer a friendly greeting. It is understandable that some individuals still do not prefer hand shaking due to COVID-19 concerns. Nonetheless, you can keep the atmosphere light and welcoming by introducing yourself, saying who you are, and what you do at the organization. Share with them what you provide and extend a call to action such as them testing something, answering questions, filling out paperwork, or making a purchase. This is dependent upon where you may be in the sales cycle and in which industry you represent. If your organization needs additional tools or how to navigate the sales cycle (e.g., business to business or business to customer), you can contact SBR Workplace Leadership Services.
If your organization requires a uniform or even an expectation of a dress code (e.g., shirts tucked in and wearing a belt), ensure that it is enforced by every employee. If an employee is not dressed appropriately, speak to the employee immediately, as they represent your organization. This is especially important if they are wearing clothes with your company logo and name sewn on them. You might have extra uniforms on-site or you may send them home to dress accordingly. All policies should be in writing and distributed to all employees upon hire.
In meetings, it is best to always have an agenda to follow. Ensure the agenda has been sent out in advance so that everyone knows what to expect and is prepared if they need to present something to the group. It is important to stay on schedule and not allow the meeting to stray off into side topics for lengthy periods of time. Begin on time as it is punishment to those who arrived on time to wait for late comers. If the meeting is scheduled for one hour or 90 minutes, be sure to adhere to the limits and end on time as well to respect the time of others.
Overall, developing the professionalism portrayed throughout your organization is an important component to its ultimate success. When professionalism is the standard and your stakeholders come to appreciate that, they will expect it with all interactions with your company. A lack of professionalism, from even one employee, can later serve as a deterrent to your clientele. If your organization wants further tips regarding professionalism on social media, time management, better preparedness, and more, contact SBR Workplace Leadership Services to schedule a consult, workshop, or training. Happy Workforce Development Month!