The transition between university life and a professional workplace isn’t always seamless. Adjusting to a major shift in workplace culture, protocol and dress takes time and effort. That said, with training, seminars and resources, recent graduates and new hires can be well equipped to jump right in to a professional environment –and your company can help them to do so.
Why do new hires need business etiquette?
For those who have been working professionally for years, many aspects of professional life come as second nature. But for those just entering the workforce, certain protocol can be new territory. Notable examples:
When dining for business, there are many more guidelines to follow that simply dining with family or friends, at home or in a restaurant.
Business dining often takes place in a more formal setting, which requires know-how of more extensive table settings and flatware as well as behaviour.
Additionally, the question of alcohol may come up, in which case it is not always obvious to a new hire that alcoholic drinks should only be ordered if the host encourages the order, and if so, no more than one alcoholic drink should be consumed in a business context.
Finally, keeping good conversation going throughout the meal is an art in and of itself. The savvy diner will not engage in controversial discussion, and will discuss business matters only when it seems appropriate to do so.
Before a young person is even a “new hire,” they’ve got to get the job first! No matter how impressive a resume may be, poor interview etiquette may detract from a candidate’s chances of landing a job.
Punctuality is absolutely essential for a job interview – even if a candidate is only 5 minutes late, many employers will simply write off that opportunity. That said, a fine balance is necessary; in other words, getting to an interview too early can be awkward, especially in small companies. Arriving approximately 10 minutes in advance is a safe bet.
A handwritten thank-you note after an interview is indispensible. Coming prepared with other hard-copy materials is also helpful as well; for example, a copy of a resume and cover letter for each staff member conducting the interview, and a business card or reference letter if applicable.
The expectation for professional dress and image, even in business casual settings, can be vastly different than on a university campus. It can help new hires immensely to have the dress code outlined right at the start of employment and to have an idea of the differences between business formal, business and business casual dress codes.
How can new hires acquire business etiquette?
New hires can learn the basics of business etiquette and professional image right in your company.
By engaging new hires in etiquette training, ranging anywhere from a full-day seminar to a one-hour Lunch and Learn session, your company will help young professionals become accustomed to new protocol. Additionally, this can help your company is well – with etiquette training as soon as they begin their positions, your newest employees will be able to represent your company’s brand well and will be trusted to interface professionally with your company’s partners and clients.
Young professionals can also acquire business etiquette training during their degrees; undergraduate commerce degrees and MBA programs now often require an etiquette component before graduation. If you work in a university or career counseling setting, consider offering business protocol training to all undergraduate students – because good business etiquette is relevant for any professional!
For those interested in our etiquette training services, here are two testimonials that may be of interest:
#1 “Dear Diane,
#2 “Hi Diane,
I love my new job. People are very nice here. I’m learning a lot from my new job.