Team Building Resources

Professionalism 101 (and 14 Email Tips)

Jul 11, 2019

Professionalism and workplace behavior, like other behaviors, are learned and taught. This can be especially important if you are hiring workers when your company is their first job. Many retail and service companies are the first stop on a person’s career and have the opportunity to shape the workplace professionalism and behavior of employees. If you find yourself training or working extensively with first job employees, then here are some basic rules that can be communicated to your team.

EYE CONTACT. Resist the urge to look at your phone or emails during meetings or while having a work-related conversation.

RESPECT THE POWER OF CC. Always CC the email recipient’s supervisor. They’ll appreciate being looped in and you’ll probably get a faster response.

DON’T TALK ABOUT HOT BUTTON ISSUES AT WORK. Save that argument for your great aunt at Thanksgiving.

AVOID BEING TOO COMFORTABLE. Taking your shoes off and kicking your feet up is fine at home, but probably isn’t the best idea at work.

KEEP IT SQUEAKY CLEAN. If you wouldn’t say that word in front of your 4-year-old niece or your 90-year-old grandma, don’t say it to your coworker.

10/4. If you find yourself within 10 feet of a coworker, smile and make eye contact. When within 4 feet, say something nice. Basically, don’t ignore people.

FOCUS ON SERVING OTHERS.

At the end of the day, we’re at work to serve our guests and serve each other. If you make your goal producing epic work and selflessly serving your coworkers, you’ll be successful.

EMAIL 101
BECOME AN EMAILING PRO USING THE 14 TIPS BELOW.

Email is often where work happens, so be intentional, passionate, and efficient with your written communication.

1. UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “TO” AND “CC.” CC means “carbon copy,” so CC anyone who should be looped
in on the thread, but doesn’t need to perform any action other than reading the email. It’s a good rule of thumb to always CC
your supervisor and the recipient’s supervisor. Avoid using “BCC” entirely–you don’t want to sneak around behind people’s backs.

2. LESS IS MORE. As a rule of thumb, the more people you send an email to, the less likely any single person will respond to it, much less perform any action that you requested. Be strategic with who you include on emails. Likewise, keep your messages brief and to the point. Make your most important point first, then provide details if necessary.

3. REPLY ASAP, EVERY TIME. Designate time to clear your inbox at the beginning and end of each workday. Responding late or not responding at all will damage your reputation and decrease your effectiveness. You should reply to every email you receive from your coworkers.

4. BE KIND. Emails don’t communicate tone, inflection, or other non-verbal cues. As a result, be overly friendly and helpful. Sarcasm is especially dangerous. E-mail is a great way to commend someone or praise them, but it’s not an appropriate place to send criticism. These kinds of conversations are usually better handled face-to-face or, if necessary, over the phone.

5. DON’T REPLY IN ANGER. It’s almost never effective and doesn’t reflect well on you. If an email strikes a nerve, wait a day to respond so you can cool off.

6. DON’T OVERUSE THE “HIGH PRIORITY” FLAG or label too many email subject lines “urgent.” “High priority” should be reserved for messages that are truly urgent.

7. DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS. Bottom line, it’s scary. THIS IS THE DIGITAL EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING, plus it’s harder to read.

8. DON’T SEND OR FORWARD EMAILS CONTAINING LIBELOUS, DEFAMATORY, OFFENSIVE, RACIST, OR OBSCENE
REMARKS. If you do so, you can put yourself and your company at risk.

9. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR FOLLOWING UP. Simply firing off an email isn’t enough to get the work done. Take ownership for seeing it through to completion. Use the “nudge” tool or a custom label in Gmail to remind yourself to follow up if you haven’t heard back in a few days, week, etc.

10. DOWNLOAD THE GMAIL APP ON YOUR PHONE AND ENABLE NOTIFICATIONS. Do feel free to snooze notifications on your off days.

11. ONLY ENTER ADDRESSES IN THE “TO” AND “CC” FIELDS AFTER YOU’VE PROOFREAD YOUR EMAIL AND ARE READY
TO SEND. This is a lifesaver for preventing spelling and grammatical errors.

12. ENABLE THE “UNDO” BUTTON IN GMAIL TO CANCEL EMAILS WITHIN 30 SECONDS OF SENDING. This is especially helpful if a typo slipped through the cracks.

13. KNOW WHEN TO REPLY TO AN INDIVIDUAL PERSON VS. “REPLY ALL.” If an email thread is a group conversation, use “reply all.” If you need to communicate privately to just one person, only respond to that person.

14. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO SET A VACATION REMINDER WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF THE OFFICE. Be sure to include when you’ll be back and contact information for a colleague who is willing to field urgent inquiries while you’re gone.

Communicating expectations and rules is a great first step, but always remember that what you tolerate is what the real standard is, and your employees will find out what you tolerate very quickly. If you tolerate unprofessional behavior, then it will persist regardless of “official policy.”

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