Companies benefit when employees have a professional attitude in the workplace. According to the "Graziadio Business Report,” workers who have the right attitude can produce financial gains and become the catalyst for developing a learning organization. The right attitude helps establish a positive work environment. Unfortunately, office politics and lax supervision can result in unprofessional behavior that has an adverse effect on employee attitude. Management must take an active role to set expectations and turn things around.
Provide a good example of professional behavior starting with the top of the organization. When employees witness members of management acting in an unprofessional manner, it can send the message that this type of behavior is acceptable. All company executives, managers and supervisors must model the professional behavior they expect from front-line employees.
Enforce a dress code. All companies should have a dress code for employees. Over time, some employees may try to push the envelope and see if they can get away with wearing questionable attire.
If employees wear clothing to work that is provocative, sloppy or too casual, the attitude within the workplace will start to suffer. Send a company-wide reminder about dress code and take direct action if violations continue. Many companies have adopted a "casual Friday" policy, where employees can dress down slightly just before the weekend.
Require employees to maintain a neat and orderly workspace, and make sure the entire building is clean and well kept. Workers will feel more professional if their surroundings are clean and tidy. If the setting in your workplace seems too casual, it may be time to eliminate clutter or redecorate. You may also need to set some ground rules on the amount of personal knick-knacks and belongings that employees display in their work area.
Remind everyone to save personal discussions and joking for breaks and lunchtime. Confront employees who waste time when they should be working. When management allows this type of behavior to continue, it usually becomes worse and annoys those who are trying to work.
Go over expectations for answering the phone, responding to emails and using the internet. Establish company policies and train employees on proper phone and email etiquette. They should refrain from using slang and should speak in a way that reflects positively on the company. Employees should never use company time to surf the web or take care of personal business. Make sure you have safeguards in place to prevent employees from visiting inappropriate websites or downloading suspect files.
Establish team goals that everyone can work toward achieving. This will give employees an incentive that will encourage a professional attitude. You could challenge everyone to work together to increase productivity by a certain percentage or to improve customer satisfaction ratings, for example. Consider rewarding the employees with a fun group outing where it is acceptable to relax and be casual.
Do not allow employees to make comments or tell jokes of a sexual nature. Not only is it unprofessional, but you could be placing your company at risk for a lawsuit by permitting a "hostile work environment."