Should etiquette training be part of your employee development plan? Do people naturally say and do the right thing? Does anyone really care which fork you use to eat your salad? Manners in the workplace can be a hot topic, particularly if people aren´t using them. A leaner and tighter workforce puts many demands on its people. We all must have broad range of skills. Sometimes etiquette gets overlooked yet it´s essential if you want to succeed. It´s all about relationship building and without it most things are more difficult. It´s about how we treat others, how we want others to treat us and how people perceive us. And what about "netiquette"? The way we communicate online is just as important. Have you ever misinterpreted someone´s e-mail or gotten yourself into a boiling pot of hot water because of something you sent into the world? Don´t get me started.
Generally speaking, business etiquette is all about how we treat others, how we want to be treated and how people perceive us-fairly important areas that can significantly impact how we do our jobs. So how do you incorporate these lessons into the workplace?
First, you need to establish the fact that manner are, indeed, important. In the past, plain old courtesy got a bad name for being too goody, goody, or, worse, "soft." But just because a skill is soft doesn´t mean that its impact cannot be felt in your company´s bottom line.
Next, you need to identify what´s going well and what needs adjustment. People may be polite to each other in the halls, but is anyone gossiping? You and others may consider gossip inevitable, but that doesn´t mean for a second that it should be tolerated. Not unlike its effect in junior high and high school gossip is toxic and can incur tremendous damage, often irreversible and very costly. How about the way your employees interact with clients and customers? Have you ever noticed an attitude? Could someone stand to learn a thing or two about tone of voice or the ability to listen first and speak later?
After you identify what needs work you need to decide how you´re going to incorporate the learning. Are you going to send around a memo and leave it up to people to make the changes you´re requesting? Maybe you want to have a meeting and bring etiquette out in the open and ask for input. Or perhaps you have the budget to bring in an expert for a program that will help your employees learn etiquette basics. Whatever you do be serious about it. If you treat good manners as a joke, everyone else will as well. One of the best ways to convince your employees of the importance of good etiquette is with case studies-real examples that have meaning.
Next time I´ll offer some tangible tips. In the meantime, don´t forget to say "please" and "thank you."