Is Professionalism a Teachable Quality?

Professionalism is a skill that the modern workforce needs, no matter the job or career path. Professionalism encompasses the skills and attitudes necessary to do the job well. But there are plenty of people on the job market today that we probably would consider less than professional. This group of workers could benefit from mentoring or training to improve their workplace behavior. But can professionalism be taught? 

From Rough Around the Edges to Professional 

We believe professionalism can be modeled, starting from the top of the organization. Like it or not, workers take cues from how management behaves. All management should be trained in professional behaviors, and they should work to ensure their employees exhibit these same characteristics. This could be everything from dressing appropriately to demeanor, reliability, and generally meeting the expectations of the company and the job itself. 

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) lists these characteristics of professionalism that workers should generally adopt: 

  • Accountability 
  • Articulate 
  • Communication 
  • Composed 
  • Ethical 
  • Organized 
  • Reliability 

To teach these skills, managers must first define what constitutes professionalism in the organization and then set expectations with workers about what is expected. The organization can help by establishing corporate values that embrace these characteristics. Human resources can reinforce a professional code of conduct by setting rules that everyone follows. Professional behavior can be outlined in the HR manual and covered during employee reviews. Professionalism can be reinforced throughout the entire organization and embodied in all aspects of the everyday behaviors that create a corporate culture. 

Professionalism can be taught, but the entire organization must work together to ensure that employees conduct themselves appropriately. There will be times when employees fail to meet expectations, but it’s up to the company to make sure the code of professional conduct is spelled out, shared, and reinforced.  

If you feel the employee violates the code of professionalism in the workplace, write down what specific behaviors lack professionalism. Then sit down with the employee to coach them about any behaviors that fail to pass muster. The organization must not leave the pursuit of professional conduct to chance. Companies must train new employees and work closely with existing employees that fail to measure up. 

For example, if an employee treats a customer poorly, instead of telling the employee they should never do that again, show them how they can do better. Companies can teach these skills by reinforcing appropriate behaviors and reinforcing them during reviews or training.  

HR Daily Advisor recommends teaching the basics of professionalism to all employees, including how to establish basic attire rules in the company to dictate what constitutes professionalism. It also covers areas such as setting ground rules for email etiquette and general communication.  

The point here is that even employees that are rough around the edges can be taught to behave more professionally. Employers must work to hire the right employees and screen for essential professionalism. Then they must lay the ground rules for conduct that will exhibit a high level of professionalism.  

Partner With the Experts at Custom!

Talk with The Custom Group of Companies to find the best candidates that not only exhibit professional skills but also have the experience to teach others these important behaviors. 

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