There is a time and a place for colorful language to get a point across -- and the workplace is not it. While some may feel it is necessary to use profanities in order to be heard, others may feel threatened by obscenities or simply be offended by coarse language. Whether you are a manager trying to maintain a professional environment or an employee working on controlling your own language, there are some strategies for eliminating profanity in the workplace.
Listen to one another and pay attention to the needs of others. Swearing is simply a means of getting attention. Create open lines of communication between management through regular meetings and conferences. If you listen to your employees' concerns, there will be less need for them to use profanity to get attention.
Ask for your employees' input. Use a suggestion box or provide employees with a survey on workplace respect. Allow employees to take ownership for disrespectful behavior and empower them to eliminate it.
Establish guidelines outlining company policy on profanity. At minimum, the policy should note that the company does not tolerate offensive language, and violators will be subject to the company's discipline policy.
Lead by example. Train all management to follow the company's profanity guidelines.
Make the fight against profanity fun. Have a contest to see who can go the longest without saying any profanities. Give the winner something special, such as a day off or a paid lunch. Employees that do say something from an established list of unacceptable words can place money in a jar, which will go to pay for the winner's prize.
Place signs around the office and work area that reminds employees they are working in a clean environment. For example, the signs could say, “Keep your office clean” or “We work in a profanity-free workplace”.
Create positive relationships. Reward and encourage jobs done correctly. When employees feel appreciated, they feel less stress. Stress-free employees will be less compelled to use profanity.
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