Top 10 Open Office Etiquette Rules For The Modern Workplace

workplace-etiquette-open-officeIt’s no secret that office environments have changed leaps and bounds over the last 20 years or so. One need only watch the movie “Office Space” followed by the movie “The Intern” to see just how much. Office cultures are under constant flux; with a growing interest in collaboration, influences from Silicon Valley, and many corporations opting for a flatter corporate structure, companies are knocking down walls and installing treadmill desks, collaboration rooms and nap spaces.

There’s no denying it – the open office environment has arrived and appears to be here to stay, at least for now. In many ways, this new environment offers a plethora of positive outcomes, such as higher transparency, more willingness to collaborate, and higher levels of accountability. However, this big shift can come with a host of negative consequences as well, namely employees not adjusting “adequately” to their new surroundings.

In this post, we’ve highlighted the top nine etiquette rules that need to be taken into consideration for employees moving into a new office space. Here they are:

  1. Keep short visits, well, short

All too often, in this environment, there is an urge to simply yell out a question to a colleague across the room. This is rude and distracting to others! If you need to talk to a colleague, go to where they are. In addition, keep it short – there are others around, and your conversation can act as a distraction to them.

  1. No egg salad for lunch, please

Many business professionals these days do not take a proper lunch, but rather eat at their desk. That is fine, but remember it’s not just you that has to deal with your *fragrant* egg salad sandwich you brought…

  1. It may be your desk, but it’s not your desk

When you had your own office, you had photos, tchotchkes and bobble heads lining your desk. That was fine, but unfortunately it’s not anymore. Your workspace says a lot about you, and now that your privacy is not what it used to be, be sure to keep a clean, tidy, professional workspace.

  1. What if you need some privacy?

There will come times when you need to take a sensitive call or need to focus whole-heartedly on the task at hand. In an open-office environment, is that even possible?? Yes! Simply make (or buy) a sign that reads something like “Time to Focus – Please Try Again Later” and place on your desk or cubicle wall.

  1. A phone call with the president

You have a highly confidential phone call with an important client. Do you take it at your desk, with 7 people within earshot? Probably not a great idea. Perhaps it’s best you find a quiet, secluded area for your phone call. The same goes with confidential documents – do not leave them on your desk for all to see!

  1. Is your ringtone Lady Gaga’s newest release?

All of your devices should be on vibrate or silent, so as not to distract everyone else. If you love to listen to music when you work, that’s great, but wear your headphones!

  1. Avoid the urge to gossip

Gossiping at work, whether in an open-office environment or not, is never ok. However, the effects can be pronounced in this new open space. Keep your conversations within the office professional – save the gossiping for after hours (or never!).

  1. Clean up after yourself, Gordon Ramsey!

The shared kitchen space is great, but it’s exactly that – shared! Be sure to tidy up after yourself to the point that your presence there should be completely unnoticeable. The same goes for other public shared spaces around the office.

  1. I love Chanel No. 5 too, but…

Many people these days are allergic, or sensitive, to perfumes. Please be courteous and if you must wear perfume or cologne, keep it to one spritz. People should not be able to smell your scent unless they are standing directly beside you.

  1. If you’re sick, take a sick day

There is nothing worse than spending the whole day sitting beside, or across, from someone who’s coughing, sniffling and sneezing. If you’re not in the best shape, remember that in this new office environment, you will be in close proximity to many other people. Staying home will not make you appear weak, lazy or undedicated, but rather respectful towards your coworkers.

Moving to an open-office environment can be a big change for many people; not only a physical change, but a mental one as well. It comes with changes in privacy, etiquette and behaviour. It can be a tough transition, however if you take into account the above, the transition will be much smoother for you, as well as your coworkers!

For more information on workplace etiquette, check out our new set of courses offered in our private boardroom!

Five Business Networking Faux-Pas To Avoid For Young Professionals

business-networking-young-professionalsStarting your career in your chosen field is certainly an exciting time in your life. As your career begins to take off and flourish, there are certain activities and behaviours you can engage in to make the transition into work like more successful and fulfilling. One of these activities is often dreaded and feared by most, let alone young professionals who have little to no practice engaging in it: networking.

Despite this inherent fear, many people choose to overcome it and engage in as many networking opportunities as possible. They do so because they’ve realized one simple truth: your network is your net-worth. The more people you know, the more relationships you form, the more you will succeed in your field, whatever field that may be and regardless of the position you hold.

Now that we’ve established the importance of networking, there are some behaviours to stay away from when at a networking event. These behaviours will serve to not only undermine your executive presence, but will also result in a less-than-stellar networking “performance.” Here are four faux-pas to avoid while networking:

  1. Smelling like smoke
    It is understandable that many people smoke these days. However, if you are a smoker, it is really important that you do not go into a networking event right after smoking a cigarette. Non-smokers (and even many smokers) can’t handle the smell of second hand smoke on someone else. Remember, you are going to this event to meet people and engage them, and turning them off with cigarette smoke is not a great way to start.
  2. Trying to talk to everyoneIt is true that in networking and in business networking, the idea is to touch as many people as possible. You definitely do not want to be talking to the same person the whole night, as that defeats the purpose! However, you don’t want to be simply introducing yourself to someone, handing them your card and then moving on. It is important to establish a rapport with someone before you exit the conversation, to ensure they remember you. Handing them your card is simply not enough to do that.
  1. Have professional-looking business cards, no matter what stage you’re at
    Even if you are still a student, it is important to have professional-looking business cards (and enough of them!). Heavy card stock is always good, and a simple, clean look can go a long way. Make sure your information is easy to read and straightforward. If you are a student, your school likely has a business card format that you could use.
  2. Don’t bring a friend
    The idea at networking events is to meet new people, not to catch up with a friend. Often, when friends go to networking events together, they spend most of their time talking to each other. Going alone will force you to engage with and talk to others.
  3. Don’t drink too much
    This may seem like an obvious one, but often in stressful situations where we don’t feel the most comfortable, another glass of wine usually seems like a great idea. Having a few drinks over the course of the evening is acceptable; overdoing it to the point of inebriation will seriously damper your chances of a successful evening of networking. Pace yourself to one drink an hour, alternate with a glass of water or soft drink, with an absolute limit or three.

Networking can sometimes be scary and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are equipped with the right tools and know what behaviours to avoid, chances are you will have a fun and successful networking experience! Networking doesn’t always have be done at organized networking events, either. Check out our post on unique places you can network!

Double Standards: Why Women Often Struggle with Their Executive Presence

women-executive-presenceWe hope you enjoyed our blog series on The Secret Handshake: Mastering the Politics of the Business Inner Circle. There was certainly a lot to cover from the book, and in reality, each section covered could have been expanded upon much more. However, there was one section in particular, on power, that is arguably one of the most important sections from the book. Power can either make or break you; power comes first, and everything falls into place afterwards. It is for that reason that this week we will delve further into notions of power and powerlessness, what it means, and how it affects things like your physiology and emotional and mental states.

Dr. Amy Cuddy, a global leader on research around presence and body language, has recently published a book called Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. Chapter five in this book is entitled “How Powerlessness Shackles the Self (and How Power Sets It Free), and it examines the differences between personal and social power (which was covered in the Secret Handshake blog series), and the difference between having power and being powerless. Dr. Cuddy begins by explaining that powerlessness can often come about when were are faced with a big change in our lives, and is followed by a self-perceived loss of power, accompanied by feelings of insecurity and anxiety. This depleted state that we experience makes us feel that we cannot cope with the situation at hand. When this happens, opportunities become threats, and therefore we actively avoid them. This is arguably the most important aspect of power versus powerlessness: when you feel powerless, you avoid opportunities, and vice versa. Power activates the behavioural approach system, and powerlessness, the behavioural inhibition system.

Another important aspect of power that is essential to understand is that personal power is uniquely essential (as opposed to social power). As Cuddy states: “Unless we feel personally powerful, we cannot achieve presence, and all the social power in the world won’t compensate for its absence” (114).

Feeling Powerless

  • Feeling powerless impairs thought: powerlessness and the anxiety that results from it undermine what psychologists call executive functions. These executive functions include high-order cognitive tools like reasoning and attention control. It also induces goal neglect, which is the phenomenon of failing to remain focused on a goal
  • Powerlessness makes us feel self-absorbed: the link between anxiety and self-absorption is bidirectional – the more self-focused we are, the more anxious we become
  • Powerlessness prevents presence

Feeling Powerful

  • Power can protect us: power acts as a buffer against negative emotions
  • Power can connect us: feeling powerful can often improve our ability to read and relate to other people. In addition, when we feel powerful we allow ourselves to be more open to others
  • Power can liberate our thinking: power seems to improve our ability to make good decisions under complex conditions
  • Power can synchronize us: feeling powerful can synchronize our thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Power can incite action: simply put, feeling powerful makes people proactive
  • Power can make our actions more effective: remember how when we feel powerful, we approach opportunities instead of running away from them?

Clearly, there are so many incredible side-effects of feeling personally powerful. Not only does power positively affect our lives in these ways, but it also affects our physiology. For instance, studies have shown that high-status individuals (i.e. those who possess social power) tend to have high levels of basal testosterone, which is the dominance and assertiveness hormone. Secondly, those who lack feelings of power often exhibit higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. It therefore makes sense that people who have a high sense of personal power cope better in crises. Evidently, the power of power cannot, and should not, go unnoticed.

Ways to increase your personal power can be so simple as to adopt a better body posture. Other ways include adjusting how you speak with and engage with others, as well as actively trying to deter negative thoughts that make you feel powerless. When you do so, you will notice feelings of power slowly encroaching in your day-to-day interactions. Others will notice too!

Works Cited

Cuddy, Amy. Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to your Biggest Challenges. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2015. Print.

What is Leadership Presence?

This week begins a series of blogs on leadership presence, what it entails, and how to obtain it.

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At Corporate Class, our team has done much research on the terms executive and leadership presence. Some say Executive Presence is a subset of Leadership Presence and we believe these terms are interchangeable. When you look at the description of each according to different authors, they are most often referring to the same thing.

One responder to a blogger’s attempt to define the difference between leadership and executive presence writes: “It is hard for me to imagine that any leader with good leadership presence (as described above) would not have good executive presence (perceived as worthy of being at an executive level by those around them). And anyone with poor leadership presence would also have poor executive presence (you may dress well and speak well but in short order people at an executive level will know whether or not you are all hat and no cattle- lipstick on a pig concept).”

Belle Linda Halpen and Kathy Lubar wrote a comprehensive book entitled “Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate and Inspire.” The book details what leadership presence is, who has it, and how people can obtain it. The first chapter of the book, “What Actors Have That Leaders Need, ” explains the idea of “presence” and what that entails.

So what exactly is “presence”? 

Many of the most famous actors and politicians – Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Winston Churchill – instantly command your attention when they walk into a room to give a speech, or walk onto the red carpet. Why is that? It is not simply because they are famous, but rather, they possess presence.

One key factor of presence – and in turn of these famous figures – is that they command the attention of others, almost effortlessly. People stop and stare, wanting to know what’s going to happen next. However, according to Halpen and Lubar, commanding attention “is only one outcome of presence, not its essence or even its most valuable outcome” (Halpern and Lubar 3).

“Presence is the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others” (Halpern and Lubar 3)

As made obvious by this statement, the underlying structure of presence is the ability to connect. One might believe that this ability either comes naturally to a person or does not, and that the person without it is, well, out of luck. fortunately, according to the authors, that is not the case. In fact, “presence is a set of skills, both internal and external that virtually anyone can develop and improve” (Halpern and Lubar 3). This is fantastic news! However the authors poignantly state that in order for someone to learn leadership presence, they must take themselves out of their comfort zone, and for this reason, learning it is no easy task.

The elements of leadership presence

The authors discuss the elements of leadership presence by using what is called the PRES model of Leadership Presence, which they’ve conceived of based on their years of theatrical and performance experience, as well as what they’ve both learned from teaching presence to leaders.

PRES Model of Leadership Presence:

P: stands for “being present” – the ability to completely be in the moment.

R: stands for “reaching out” – the ability to build relationships with others
through empathy and listening.

E: stands for “expressiveness” – the ability to express feelings and emotions
appropriately.

S: stands for self-knowing – the ability to accept yourself and to be authentic.

The PRES Model of LP is in total alignment with topics covered under the four pillars of Executive Presence of Corporate Class Inc. System. So it is worth noting that leadership presence is definitely very much entrenched in executive presence.

Next week, we will look at “Being Present”, a core value of executive/ leadership presence, depending which term resonates best with you.

 

Works Cited

Halpern, Belle Linda and Kathy Lubar. Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate and Inspire. New York: Gotham Books, 2003. Print.

 

 

Work Efficiently, Not Hastily

Have you ever heard the phrase “haste makes waste”? There is truth to this expression, especially in the workplace – as making decisions and producing work too quickly can have negative effects. However, getting caught up in a rush can be difficult to avoid: the fast-paced environments of many workplaces demand immediate results.

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How, then, do you reconcile the requirement for prompt action and production with high-quality work? There are a few strategies to take so that you can work efficiently but not hastily.

When Making Decisions

Especially for major decisions, a hasty choice made with poor judgement can have repercussions that carry far into the future.

  • Even if a decision requires a fast response, ensure that there is enough time for proper reflection and consideration of possible results. This not only includes your own reflection, but also implies that there is enough time to reach all other individuals who should be consulted in the process.
  • Ensure that everyone involved in the decision-making process agrees on an appropriate timeline to reach a conclusion. This will set expectations and clarify uncertainties. If you do not set a proper timeline, certain individuals may feel more urgency, stress, and anxiety when an answer isn’t reached within their expectations.

When Responding to Emails

The immediate nature of email sets the tone for constant and prompt communication. However, do not be tempted to send messages quickly that may require further contemplation.

  • For simple emails such as meeting requests, it is fine to respond promptly. But if a question or request over email demands a more lengthy response, don’t feel tempted to type as fast as you can to appear efficient to your contact. Under most normal circumstances, a good benchmark for responding to emails is within 24 hours. Use that time to think about how to convey just what you want to say.
  • Never send an angry email in the heat of the moment. If you are in the midst of a confrontation and type an emotional response, do not hit send – instead, save the email to your draft folder and revisit it a few hours later when you are calmer. Chances are, you will revise the email or start over from scratch.

When Producing Work

The quality of your work reflects directly on you as a professional. Ensure that it is a positive representation of your abilities.

  • Proofreading a document, spreadsheet, or report can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes. If a close colleague can spare a few minutes, ask him or her to look over your work as well. Taking even a small amount of time to ensure you have done a good job can make a huge difference. For more on this topic, see our previous post, “How the Little Details Matter for Executive Presence.”

Adding time for proper reflection and review of your work does not have to compromise your promptness and efficiency. Instead, it will prevent you from working in a hasty, thoughtless manner – and your conscientiousness will enhance your presence in and out of the office.

 

How to Handle Difficult Colleagues

No matter where you work, it is a certainty that you will have to work with a difficult co-worker at some point in your career. In fact, you may have met him or her already: a difficult colleague can be someone who complains constantly, does not contribute equally, is always ready to start an argument, or even engages in bullying.

In many circumstances, it can be hard to know the right thing to say or do in response to someone whose behaviour is uncooperative and irrational. However, there are a few responses you can rely on that will make the situation easier to handle in many contexts.

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  • Don’t fight fire with fire.
    If someone is getting into a heated argument or accusing others without thinking, you might begin to feel yourself getting worked up and ready to fight back.

    While it takes great restraint, try not to let someone’s passion or anger influence your own behaviour. “Fighting fire with fire,” as the saying goes, will only escalate the situation. Instead, take a deep breath, try to maintain a cool head, and counter his or her irrationality with logical and measured responses. While doing so, do match their emotions. If someone is on fire and you speak in a slow and calm voice, you will only aggravate them even more. You do not have to yell and tell, simply match the passion in your voice and the cadence of your speech with theirs.

  • Don’t take it personally.
    When a colleague is acting rudely and is difficult to work with, know that this behaviour is not directed at you personally. Instead, a colleague’s challenging behaviour in the workplace is often a result of his or her own stress, whether in the office or at home. He or she also may be coping with problems that you are not aware of.

    Although it is unprofessional and unkind to be rude to others as a result of one’s own stress, keeping this idea in mind will help you to cope when faced with difficult behaviour, as well as to be empathetic to your colleague.

  • Focus on your positive professional relationships.
    While you might have one demanding co-worker who overshadows your workday, try not to focus all your attention on this single relationship. Instead, remind yourself of all the supportive, friendly, and professional relationships that you have in your network.

    When you maintain your attention on building and maintaining strong relationships with the people who are truly a joy to work with, it will help you to feel more positive and productive rather than diminished by one individual’s difficult personality.

  • Hold your ground—and pick your battles.
    You do not always need to take someone’s challenging behaviour lying down – and you must know when to fight back and when to let it go. Constantly trying to resist and argue with a difficult colleague can become extremely exhausting and stressful. Additionally, always reacting to a co-worker’s behaviour can affect your own professional image by portraying you as someone who is combative and reactive to provocation.
  • If it becomes a serious issue, involve HR.
    A difficult colleague can simply be testy or uncooperative. However, when an individual engages in sustained workplace bullying or any form of abuse, this becomes a much more serious issue. If the problem escalates to this level, it is appropriate to contact the Human Resources department within your company and report abusive behaviour. Your HR department will help to take the necessary steps to solve this critical workplace issue.

Relying on your Executive Presence can help you to navigate many challenges in the workplace, including dealing with difficult colleagues. For more on this topic, see our previous blog post, “How Executive Presence and Other Skills Can Help You Solve Issues in the Workplace.” How do you cope with challenging personalities in your working environment?

How to Motivate Colleagues for Effective and Balanced Teamwork

iStock_000002328740XSmallLeading a group project or team initiative is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your leadership and management skills. However, little is more frustrating than when team members do not contribute equally to the task at hand. Uncooperative group members may not complete their work on time, refrain from participating in group meetings, or approach work with a negative attitude.

While unequal contributions from team members make projects unnecessarily difficult, this behaviour occurs more often than you may think. Such behaviour can hinder the success of a project – both the process and the end result.

As team leader, how can you motivate all team members to be engaged and supportive during a group effort? Last week’s post discussed how to motivate yourself; this week, we focus on others around you. Here are three suggestions for managing a balanced and effective team.

  • Delegate Tasks According to the Interests of Group Members
    When employees are not pursuing tasks that they are passionate about, interested in, or skilled at, they can be far less committed to approach them with an enthusiastic outlook.

    When assigning tasks for a group initiative, pay attention to the interests and abilities of your team. If you customize your division of labour to these characteristics, your project may proceed more smoothly. Further, it will show that you are interested in the needs of each individual group member, which could boost their morale and trust in you.

  • Foster Good Communication on All Platforms
    Practically speaking, all group contributions should be readily and easily accessible for all other team members to access. If your team does not work from a shared server at the office, ensure that files are available through cloud-based sharing platforms or other formats that are easy to use for group members. This tactic, as well as setting clear goals and due dates, will help everyone to stay aware of the progress of the work as a whole and better enable others to contribute their portions on time.

    Logistical matters aside, it is also important to foster effective communication among group members and provide opportunities to discuss issues. When issues remain unaddressed for long periods of time, they can grow until they are no longer manageable and may hinder the success of the project.

  • Create a Tone of Friendliness and Respect
    You do not need to become great friends with all of the members of your team. However, it is important to generate an atmosphere of friendliness and respect among all team members. When you maintain a friendly tone (even in the face of issues!), the group dynamic will be far more pleasant and it will be easier for team members to commit themselves to their work – and remain committed throughout the process.

    Further, as team members begin to produce results, ensure that you are recognizing each colleague equally for their efforts. Imbalanced recognition can make it seem that you prioritize or favour certain individuals, which will reflect poorly on your leadership skills.

For further reading on managing effective teams and motivating team members, see our previous blog post on “Top Team Building Activities” or the Harvard Business Review’s “Make Your Good Team Great.”

Create a Workplace Culture that Fosters Executive Presence

Developing Executive Presence is a personal journey. After all, Executive Presence reflects an individual’s self-presentation, conduct, attitude and reputation.

However, environment can have a great effect on Executive Presence as well. In order to encourage your employees to recognize and improve their own Executive Presence, as a leader in your company you can aim to create a workplace culture that fosters Executive Presence.

The more that your employees are aware of and committed to developing their own Executive Presence, the better your company’s image will be. The behaviour of your employees will reflect positively on your organization, allowing it to maintain a great reputation and make excellent first impressions on outside clients and partners. This can only lead to success for your company.

How can you promote Executive Presence as part of your workplace culture?

  • If you lead, others will follow.
    Staff members often follow the lead that management-level employees establish. For example, if the boss is consistently late, certain employees may begin to believe that this is acceptable behaviour in the company.As a leader, you can inspire staff to develop their Executive Presence by exhibiting it yourself. Set positive standards by demonstrating composure under pressure, maintaining an excellent reputation, communicating effectively, keeping a polished professional image, and other qualities that are included in the three pillars of Executive Presence.
  • Be clear about dress policy.
    You do not need to be aggressive about enforcing rules, but a clear and consistent policy for the dress code will allow professional image to be the norm in your office culture.Especially for organizations that uphold a “business casual” dress code, lack of a clear policy can lead to image and attire slipping farther and farther away from professional standards. A defined policy – and adhering to that policy – will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
  • Foster good communication among employees.
    Communication is one of the key pillars of Executive Presence. Therefore it is essential that your employees can communicate well with each other and with external contacts.To ensure this in your office, it is important once again that you set the tone by demonstrating good standards. Maintain a good rapport with your employees, position yourself as friendly and approachable, and establish clear and preferred channels of communication. To encourage your staff to communicate well with one another, promote team-building activities that will establish trust among staff.
  • Invite staff to participate in Executive Presence Lunch and Learns.

There is no better way to foster Executive Presence than by providing your employees the opportunity to learn about it firsthand. A Lunch and Learn is an excellent context to do so: it is a learning opportunity that is effective and does not require staff to give up too much time out of their days.

Our Lunch and Learn series on the Executive Presence System is a series of interactive workshops formulated to develop Executive Presence. These fast-paced 60 to 90 minute sessions encourage participants to play an active role throughout the process, ensuring that participants are engaged during the entire session.

Remember that Executive Presence can benefit not only an individual, but also a company as a whole. How does your workplace culture encourage Executive Presence?

 

 

When is Punctuality Important for Business?

Question: When is punctuality important for business?
Answer: Always!

The importance of being on time is taught to us from a very young age. It should be no surprise, then, that lessons in punctuality stay relevant throughout our lives and work.

One more hour ar134383890972537Punctuality informs many aspects of Executive Presence. Being on time helps you to establish a good reputation and allows others to trust you. When you are punctual, your professional image appears polished and organized, rather than hurried and haphazard. Above all, it’s simply the professional standard to be consistently punctual. Yet many people still fail to meet this standard.

Here are a few examples of professional contexts where punctuality is key – and why being on time can be a deal breaker. If you are someone who is chronically late, let these examples inspire you to become an early bird!

First Impressions: Interviews & Initial Meetings
It should go without saying, but it is never acceptable to be late to an interview. This is such a common standard that some employers will refuse to interview a candidate if he or she is even one or two minutes late.

Other than interviews, there are many contexts where first impressions and punctuality go hand in hand. For example, consider the early stages of a partnership or a deal. If the person with whom you are negotiating walks into a meeting 10 minutes late, would you trust them to stay organized and present throughout your relationship? The answer is likely no. In this case, something as harmless as a bad habit can ruin a business relationship before it begins.

Meeting Deadlines and Completing Work on Time
When you consistently complete documents, finish projects, or produce any other kind of output on time, it reflects positively on your work ethic and your quality of work. Not only will colleagues notice your personal standards, but also they will acknowledge your commitment to your company and its success.

By contributing your own work on time, your actions show that you want your company to stay on track and meet its goals. Others in your organization will take note – and such clear demonstration of dedication to a company is a solid foundation for advancing within that organization.

Arriving on Time to Internal Meetings
For regular internal meetings, some employees may deprioritize their importance and take a casual approach – which often entails showing up late. Even though regular meetings often are not as critical as an initial meeting or a deal, do not assume that they are not “important.”

Close colleagues may understand if you occasionally are late due to bad traffic or a long appointment. However, avoid making a habit out of tardiness to internal meetings. After a while, those in your company will begin to notice your style and it will begin to hinder how they perceive you. Importantly, this could affect how you do – or do not – advance within your company.

Above we list just a few examples of the many contexts in which punctuality is key to success. After all, there is much truth to the saying, “the early bird catches the worm!”

 

Internal Communication and Respect: Just as Important As External Relations

article-new-thumbnail_ehow_images_a01_ur_gr_win-employees-respect-800x800Have you ever been to a shop or a restaurant and spoken with a friendly, helpful manager – only to watch that manager turn around and speak rudely to his or her employees? At that moment, did the store or restaurant suddenly lose its credibility? Think about this situation and apply it to your own company: does your organization respect its employees as much as its external clients and partners?

Even for companies that prioritize customer service and external relations, it is essential to foster positive internal communication and respect for employees. Without a strong internal foundation, external relations can’t follow suit – and external contacts will notice fissures in an organization that has weak internal relations. Also, an organization likely will have less focus and lower quality outputs if internal staff does not communicate well or feel appreciated.

Here are a few strategies to consider for improving your company’s internal communication:

  • Invite different forms of communication.
    While certain employees might feel that a face-to-face discussion is the most effective way to communicate, others may be more comfortable with email correspondence. As management, suggest different forms of communication through which employees can reach you or their supervisors directly. In addition, resources such as staff-wide forums (online or in-person) or informal monthly gatherings keep multiple communication channels open – and set the tone for a culture of communication.
  • Provide clear solutions for problem solving.
    It is important for employees to know where to go or whom to speak with when issues arise in the office. Otherwise, small problems occasionally can grow into job-threatening issues. The most obvious solution is having a strong and approachable Human Resources department. Ensure that HR employees are at the top of their game through professional development training and conference opportunities
  • Promote interdepartmental communication.
    In most companies, various departments rely on one another to complete their own work, whether directly or indirectly. However, many departments end up working in silos with little to no understanding of the objectives of other teams in the same company – even those working right down the hallway. Through team-building solutions and company-wide events, promote interdepartmental communication.

    It is important for staff to understand how their work fits within the work of the whole company as well as how it contributes to the efforts of others. With a better collective understanding of the overarching institutional objectives and strategies, employees will be able to pinpoint how their work contributes to the company as a whole – thereby finding more meaning in their own work.

  • As management, find ways to respond to employees directly.
    Simply because of the overwhelming number of responsibilities for executive-level staff, it is often necessary for an assistant to respond to emails and manage the bulk of the communications. Occasionally, however, it is important for employees to be able to reach company leaders directly. Employees should know that upper management is aware of the work and that it matters to the success of the company. Even a brief encouraging email to a department or an acknowledgment on a first-name basis can make a difference.