Why Good Business Etiquette Matters More than Ever
By: Connie Blaszczyk, Managing Editor, Monster Resource Center
Is your business a place that cultivates good business etiquette? And more to the point – why should you care?
If you think “etiquette” is a thing of the past author Barbara Pachter advises you to think again.
Her new book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet your Way to Success (McGraw-Hill, 2013) makes the case for why good business etiquette – particularly social media etiquette – is more important than ever.
And as she points out in this Monster interview, it’s not always the employees who commit etiquette no-no's.
Monster: Your new book covers a lot of territory. Is it geared to a particular audience?
Pachter: The book is geared to new entries to the workplace and seasoned professionals. Everyone can benefit from staying up-to-date with etiquette, including the new social media guidelines.
Monster: Do Gen Y, Gen X and Boomers all struggle with good etiquette?
Pachter: We can all struggle with what’s appropriate behavior in today’s ever-changing workplace. Our mothers couldn’t have taught us how to be polite with social media — it didn’t exist when most of us were growing up.
Monster: Do Millennials face a bigger challenge, given their level of social media use?
Pachter: They may…as social media has become their main mode of communication. One young woman said that she looks at her phone the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning!
Plus many Millennials started using social media before they entered the workplace and don’t realize that they may have to adapt their social media presence/activity for the business world.
Monster:: Should younger workers be held to the same rules around social media use at work as everyone else? Or is that a sure-fire way to create discontent?
Pachter: Yes, we all need to follow the same rules. Everyone needs to remember that their use of social media can impact their reputation and their relationships with others.
Monster: What challenges has social media created in workplace behavior? How should employers address these issues?
Pachter: Employers need a social media policy. They need to address issues such as: Can employees access social media while they are at work? (This is somewhat difficult to stop as most employees have access via their phones.) What company information is appropriate to post or not to post? And what are the penalties for employees abusing the social media policy?
Monster: What other challenges are common around workplace etiquette?
Pachter: People still have the tendency to text under the table at meetings. This use of the Smartphone is rude to the speaker. In addition to understanding how to be polite with social media, many employees still need to learn how to shake hands correctly, dress appropriately and stay sober at business-social events.
Monster: What no-no's do employers sometimes commit in the workplace?
Pachter: Employers have a tendency to set guidelines for employees, yet don’t always follow the rules themselves. One boss does not let his employees text in the office, but he will text when he is in a meeting.
Monster: You mention the importance of good grammar and spelling in communications. Is social media, which is inherently casual — and often quickly executed — the biggest culprit?
Pachter: It is certainly one of them. Though the workplace is more casual today, it is not okay for people to be unprofessional when using social media. Your reputation can be affected by the quality/content of your emails, posts, tweets and texts.
Monster: Should recruiters reject a great resume that includes a few typos?
Pachter: Whether they should or they shouldn’t is not the question. They do! Recruiters will reject a resume with typos in it.
Consider this: One typo may be overlooked, but if there are three, four or more errors, it sends a message that you are not paying attention to the details. And why would I want to hire you if you make a lot of mistakes?
Monster: Is it up to employers to train their new workers in “soft skills” that may often be missing?
Pachter: Yes. Employers want their employees to be the best they can be. Having employees who have soft skills have the competitive edge. They can effectively establish relationships, communicate more clearly and interact more professionally and politely (whether on the phone, in-person or with social media) with internal and external customers.
Barbara Pachter is president of Pachter & Associates. The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet your Way to Success (McGraw-Hill, 2013) is her 10th book. She is an internationally renowned business etiquette and communications speaker, coach, and author who has delivered more than 2,100 seminars throughout the world. For more information, visit pachter.com.