Sandra Bledsoe

What Is Professionalism in the Workplace?

Professionalism in the workplace refers to how seriously an employee takes his or her position within an organization. By maintaining a polite and professional attitude and demeanor, employees are at less risk for conflict with others and more likely to help create a safer, happier working environment for themselves and those around them.

Image via Unsplash by Adeolu Eletu£

Many people struggle to figure out what’s considered professional behavior and what isn’t. Including professionalism in the workplace training can help make items clear for everyone and help avoid possible conflicts or awkward situations.

What Is Considered Professionalism in the Workplace?

Explore the following areas that many people associate with a professional attitude and demeanor in the workplace:

  • Maintaining a respectful attitude
  • Listening carefully and openly to others
  • Being a team player
  • Maintaining a peaceful approach to negotiation
  • Avoiding conflict when possible
  • Being ethical
  • Being positive and outgoing
  • Dressing appropriately
  • Using politically correct and business-appropriate language
  • Being polite

Professionalism means maintaining all of these qualities through every business function that you encounter. For example, instead of getting angry with someone, you should resolve issues through clear communication and a respectful attitude.

What Is Not Considered Professionalism in the Workplace?

We may be accustomed to natural behaviors in other parts of our lives, such as at home or sports competitions, but these behaviors do not transfer well to a workplace setting. Study the following list of unprofessional behaviors:

  • Yelling at co-workers
  • Throwing things when upset
  • Displaying anger
  • Using foul language
  • Demonstrating any harassing or discriminatory behavior
  • Not dressing appropriately for the workplace 
  • Denigrating others
  • Being rude to others
  • Instigating arguments or conflicts

These actions are only some of the intolerable behaviors that do not reflect well on anyone in the workplace. Professionalism in the workplace training sessions can help employees identify and prevent problematic behavior by maintaining a more pleasant working environment for all people.

What Does Professionalism in the Workplace Training Cover?

Training for professionalism in the workplace will cover a few basic areas, such as identifying professional behavior, identifying unprofessional behavior, identifying consequences to unprofessional conduct, and offering solutions to employees struggling with professionalism in the workplace, including harassment and rude behavior. 

Take a closer look at the following points:

Identifying Professional Behavior

Professionalism in the workplace training can help provide examples that explain the qualities that define professionalism. This approach will ensure everyone agrees about professional behavior in the workplace.

Identifying Unprofessional Behavior

Sometimes, employees may be unaware that certain habits are considered unprofessional. Training will describe some examples of unprofessional behavior and what makes these actions inappropriate. Identifying problematic behavior will make it easier for individuals to stop and learn from their mistakes moving forward.

Identifying Consequences

Employees need to understand how their unprofessional attitudes and behaviors affect their company and their co-workers. Behaving unprofessionally in the workplace has direct consequences. Everyone on the team needs to be aware that unprofessional behavior has consequences and how these consequences may affect one’s employment status.

Offering Solutions

Sometimes, it can be a struggle for people to learn to behave more professionally. Now that they’ve identified problem behavior, how can they fix it? The last part of professionalism in the workplace training will strive to offer solutions and replacement behaviors to help struggling employees find a way to improve their professional skills at work.

Different Types of Professionalism

Employees may need to be reminded about different categories of professionalism to better understand how to behave in certain situations. Learn more about these categories of professionalism in the workplace.

Email Professionalism

The way you write emails to your coworkers or clients must always be professional. Tips for writing professional emails include using business-appropriate language instead of something more casual. The tone of your email should be professional and should sign off with a signature. Your email is not the place to write unprofessional comments or rude remarks.

Social Media Professionalism

All employees must be aware of their responsibility on social media, especially if their accounts are not private. To maintain professionalism, employees should be mindful of their digital identities when operating social media accounts on behalf of a company. They need to refrain from abusive language, derogatory posts, political statements, and anything otherwise considered a personal view. Here is an article that further defines the differences between personal and professional personas on social media.

Professionalism on the Job

This type of professionalism refers to the interactions that you have with your boss, co-workers, or anyone else with whom you interact during the workday. These interactions involve maintaining a professional attitude, tone, and demeanor. Individuals should set aside personal emotions for the sake of professionalism. 

Who Needs Professionalism in the Workplace Training?

Generally speaking, everyone should receive this type of training. It can help avoid conflict and maintain a peaceful and respectful working environment. Offering this training to your employees also reminds them that you are committed to a safe and happy working environment where everyone gets treated with respect and kindness. 

It’s always a good time to chat with your employees about professionalism in the workplace, particularly with new hires. Here is a link to get started with employee training programs and a helpful article that outlines why professionalism in the workplace is essential.

Professionalism and Communication

An essential part of a professional attitude is your ability to communicate professionally. Professionalism in the workplace training can offer tips and advice on the difference between social conversation and professional conversation and when each one can and should be applied.

Professionalism and Dress Code

Part of professionalism in the workplace training should discuss the proper dress code. Dressing sloppy, too casually, or too revealing can be inappropriate for many workplaces. To be professional, employees must follow all reasonable dress code regulations put in place by the company. Addressing this issue in the training session will also alleviate the awkward pressure of a face-to-face chat with an employee about inappropriate attire.

Implement Professionalism Standards

Once the training is complete, the job isn’t over yet. Employers should implement professionalism standards into the company’s handbook or employee contracts. Everyone should be on the same page and be aware of the rules and expectations regarding displaying professionalism in the workplace. From attitude and personal demeanor to dress code, all of the essential elements of professionalism should be easily accessible to all employees.

Maintaining a professional working environment can help build a better working environment for everyone. It can also help all individuals improve their career paths. Learning what is and isn’t appropriate to adjust their behavior accordingly is a skill that will serve an employee well both in your workplace and throughout their careers.

Professionalism can be a sensitive issue to address with your workforce, especially if you don’t want to risk offending someone who may dress or speak differently than you do. You can adapt professionalism in the workplace training to account for these sensitivities and can get the message across without making anyone feel uncomfortable or discriminated against in the workplace. Being mindful of personalities in light of race, gender, and culture is especially important in a professional setting to prevent unintentional discrimination. 

Now that you understand the importance of professionalism in the workplace training, you can incorporate the principles discussed here into the ongoing professional development of your employees.