Although you may not realize it, etiquette training enhances workplace productivity. The frequency typically depends on the employee's experience level. Business etiquette training typically reduces difficulties with coworkers, prevents cultural clashes and maintains good working relationships. Dealings with clients, customers and suppliers go more smoothly when everyone follows the same rules. Neglecting to set expectations may lead your employees to believe that you don't care. This could lead to disastrous results.
When you hire temporary office workers, avert disaster by spending some time explaining your office protocol. This includes dress code, hours of operation, lunch breaks, phone and computer usage. Usually, you can do this just once, when the temporary employee joins your workforce. If they return for a subsequent assignment, you can ask them to take a quiz as a refresher. Stress how important it is that all employees make a positive impression with customers by making eye contact during conversations, maintaining a neat and tidy workplace, addressing people by their appropriate titles and respecting other people’s cultural backgrounds.
Making the transition from campus life to a corporate environment can be a big adjustment for high school and university graduates. Offering these younger workers etiquette training during their first week helps them understand what is expected of them in the workplace. In school, days are usually very structured. The workplace is typically more flexible than educational institutions. Effective time management ensures success. In a school environment, people work on their own and receive grades. In a workplace environment, people work on teams and receive rewards and recognition based on workgroup results.
New-employee orientation typically includes etiquette training that occurs once during the first few months. This customized training can help prepare new staff members, including people with previous working experience and those directly out of college, to deal with customers, suppliers and coworkers based on the values and traditions of your company. By communicating the standards of business conduct, you educate your new workers before any incidents occur.
Prevention and Reinforcement
When problems do occur, you can mitigate them in the future by creating awareness campaigns, including posters, brochures, podcasts and videos. These materials address issues as they arise. For example, promote effective communication by reminding employees to speak clearly and concisely, listen carefully, show respect for others and make an effort to understand others. Given the increase use of social media, communicating policies and procedures for email, text and blogging helps prevent embarrassing situations. Interactive workshops can prepare employees to improve telephone manners, as well. Remind people as often as necessary to treat others with respect and consideration.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.