On the heels of a coming new year is, of course – RESOLUTIONS.
Sow a thought, reap an action;
Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
I work for Hyatt in Marion, Illinois in the Hyatt Residence Club department as a frontline Member Services agent. I’m also an elected School Board Member working on behalf of Carbondale schools, children, and community.
Research says that the top New Year’s resolutions are weight loss, exercise, and kicking the smoking habit. I’m blogging about a different kind of resolution. Something many of us do, or will be presented with. It’s the challenge of workplace professionalism.
At my workplace, Hyatt, we’ve had important policy changes which slipped some of my co-workers by. As for “bye”, we’ve just said “Good-Bye” to a broad “gossip” policy, and replaced it with a simple “non-disparagement” statement. Gone should be the fear of repercussions for failing to uphold the old policy. We’ve also seen big changes to the “Social Media” policy, to align with mandated labor law, giving employees more freedom and responsibility. We’ve seen the adding of a new “Retaliation” clause, by all accounts, to protect against retaliation for reporting code of conduct and ethical violations. With the wording of it, it could be there to protect the employer. We’ve also had some nice updates to others.
Simply check for yourself. (Employees would go to Hyattconnect.com, or find your updated Employee Handbook e-mail).
A big thank you to management for the changes.
First, the subject of workplace professionalism, what is it?
“Professionalism is … the knowledge that an individual carries about a certain field. At work, (it) refers to a person doing his/her job with sincerity, and maintaining professional etiquette and ethics at workplace. (It) is completely devoid of politics, positive politics or mind games.”
Read more: Here
Why does this matter??
In the workplace, there’s a first task at hand… for schools, it’s educating children, in other workplaces it’s something else crucial. It’s the bottom line.
No bullying policies and no gossip policies can play a crucial role in keeping a constructive work environment. Malicious gossip is bad.
“Gossip destroys morale, creates negative energy at work and stops coworkers from becoming a united team,” says Judith Orloff, MD, the author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions. “It impacts productivity by taking a worker’s mind off the task at hand.”
Don’t stop here, read on.
In a radio interview with prior Assistant Attorney General for the state of Maine, and now public speaker, Holly Elissa Bruno, asks: Is a Zero Tolerance Gossip Policy Viable or Wise? During the interview Holly spoke with Beth Weissenberger, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman with The Handel Group, who has over 25 years as an expert corporate coach. Ms. Weissenberger made an incredible point:
“What happens in organizations when gossip is allowed to flow freely – what I say to corporations …how about building an honest culture? Our entire philosophy is: can we speak the truth? Speaking the truth is sexy! What if we trained everybody to speak the truth in a beautiful way? One in which you don’t leave the other person “dead on the floor”.
She continues, “So when it comes to building an honest culture, that means you’re wanting to teach the people on the team, that you can go directly to them to deal with something, so you are not putting them on the defense or offending them.”
Listen further: Here
What’s the alternative to a workplace gossip policy?
Effective leadership: “A different approach to curtailing office politics and gossip may be one that’s ingrained in corporate culture and values. “It’s important to create the kind of workplace culture where it’s safe for employees to voice concerns and to ask questions,” explains Marne Reed, vice president of human resources at PrintingForLess.com in Livingston, Montana. This aligns directly with the company’s values, which factor into employee evaluations. “All of our values … are reinforced throughout our performance measurement systems,” Reed notes. Regular evaluations and one-on-one conferences help managers and employees monitor adherence to corporate values and goals. When communication channels are open and candid, the rumor mill grinds to a halt.
Employees need to know the facts.
“There’s a big legal problem with no-gossip policies,” says Lisa Guerin, legal editor for Berkeley, California-based Nolo, and coauthor of Create Your Own Employee Handbook. “Employees have a right, under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), to talk to each other about the terms and conditions of their employment. This right applies whether or not a workplace is unionized. Any policy that prohibits these communications, either by doing so outright or by using language that employees might interpret as forbidding these conversations, is illegal.”
Read more: Here
Professionalism, training, and hiring the best. It’s an employer’s market. We can set the bar higher, if there’s an issue. There’s an expected level to maintain. If the level is not known, then training is given to the employee.
But nothing replaces effective leadership, building an honest culture.
I challenge employers to lead by example. I also challenge co-workers to read between the lines.
What can you do?
Educate yourself with information on how to succeed at your workplace. Have a discussion with a co-worker on a workplace topic using these principles. Share the link to this post with a friend on Facebook or other social media. Hopefully, this post will help give a start.
We can aspire to be the best, or be trained to become just that, if not…we may want to opt for another career. We can do it. Have a Happy New Year!