Etiquette Revival – Dusting Off Some Very Important Workplace Skills

Etiquette Revival – Dusting Off Some Very Important Workplace Skills

With more companies transitioning back to in-person work full-time, many professionals are finding the return to the office to be a bit weird. It’s as if something might have been lost during all that time we spent working in our sweatpants. Person-to-person interactions just aren’t the same, and all those unspoken norms about office etiquette seem to have shifted. That’s why, lately, a lot of companies across the country are taking steps to reorient their staff to the forgotten arts of workplace manners, expectations, and interfacing.

This type of etiquette training, which comes in an array of different forms, is proving to be especially useful with younger talent that may have recently entered the workforce. Some of these individuals never had the opportunity to work during “normal” times and are thus facing difficulties as they integrate into their new workplaces. So, their companies have been taking it upon themselves to set the standards for how to behave properly at work and support a cohesive company culture.

 

Etiquette on the Rise

Reports from last summer reveal the growing trend of more companies adopting this type of training for their employees. Resume Builder surveyed over 1,500 business leaders nationally and found that:

  • 45% of companies are currently offering etiquette classes.
  • Another 18% of companies will implement etiquette classes by 2024.
  • Of those currently offering classes, two-thirds say they have been “highly” successful.
  • Business leaders believe Gen Z workers struggle with “soft” skills.

Interestingly, the survey also identified the top three reasons why companies have felt the need to leverage this kind of education. They said the primary skills they’re looking to improve include “making polite conversation, dressing professionally, and writing professional emails.” Other key areas of consideration included constructive criticism, eye contact, and taking appropriate lunch breaks.

Several of those points fall under the umbrella of “soft skills” training, which does share many correlations with etiquette training. The difference therein lies in etiquette training’s specific goals to build a more professional and mutually respectful workplace atmosphere.

 

Professionalism 101

So, what exactly does etiquette training look like for businesses? Many are opting to partner with outside help in this endeavor, and there are a few different paths that companies have been taking.

For smaller operations, it’s common to see business owners investing in online etiquette training platforms. Typically, these options cost only a few hundred dollars, and any number of employees can take the classes.

Larger firms and national employers have been investing a little heavier on this front. For example, a Maryland-based provider called Business Training Works provides a two-day training session for 36 employees for about $14,000.

In either case, whether a company chooses to learn online or in-person, most types of etiquette training can be tailored to the specific needs of the learners. Businesses that are looking to invest in this type of education should first develop a list of specific targets they hope to address and goals they have in mind to fit the culture of their companies.

 

What are the Benefits?

When business etiquette skills are well-practiced, companies experience an assortment of different benefits both internally and externally.

From an outside perspective, etiquette and professionalism go a long way toward improving the optics of a company – and that can be valuable. The ability to generate a positive impression during every client interaction is essentially an indirect form of marketing. It builds trust, reflects quality, and can significantly extend customer relationships.

But it’s the internal side of this topic where companies will feel the biggest impacts of etiquette training. For one, the flow of internal communications will become clearer and more focused. Respectful correspondence will help prevent emotional or “triggered” responses among employees, which can streamline the workflow among teams. (Less drama, in other words.)

Strong professional etiquette also reflects a company’s ability to perform well in the global business economy. These days, it’s so common for employees to work with entities that may be half a world away. By having a baseline knowledge of cultural sensitivity and proper etiquette, employees will be far less likely to accidentally offend or confuse foreign individuals.

 

Please and Thank Yous

While things like manners and etiquette may at first sound overly fundamental, the truth is they’re really not as prevalent in the workplace these days as one might expect. Fortunately, these behaviors can be taught relatively painlessly before they add up to a costly, embarrassing issue for employers. By taking the time to brush up on a few of our professional behaviors, companies will have a lot to gain in the long run.

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