by Helen Perry,
Corporate & Personal Image Consultant
At the 2018 Silver Fox Luncheon featuring BBB Pinnacle Award recipients, Alan O'Neill, owner of Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical, mentioned a common question asked when business owners consider training programs: "What if I invest in these people and then they leave?" The reply: "What if you don't and they STAY?"
A study conducted by the Polk-Lepson Research Group and commissioned by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania explored how many new college graduates exhibited professionalism in the workplace. 38.2 percent of employers responding reported that less than half of their new employees exhibited professionalism.
The study defines professionalism this way:
"Everyone, regardless of their position, can be a professional. Qualities most often associated with professionalism" are:
* Communication skills;
* Interpersonal skills (including courtesy and respect);
* Work ethic;
* Being knowledgeable
* Time management.
Further, the study defines the qualities of unprofessionalism as:
* Poor work ethic;
* Poor time management;
* Poor appearance (i.e., attire, tattoos, body piercings);
* Poor communication skills;
* Being unfocused;
* Being disorganized
* A sense of entitlement.
Responses in the study came from 430 business leaders and HR professionals (representing the employers) and 436 students and recent graduates (representing the young applicants and new employees).
Major findings about professional qualities in new employees included:
* Accepting personal responsibility for decisions and actions. (A total of 90.9 percent of employers gave this quality a rating indicating it is important. In contrast, only 25.8 percent of employers indicated the quality is "relatively common" in new employees).
* Being open to criticism.
* IT etiquette problems. (Inappropriate texting, Internet surfing, and cell phone-smart phone use).
The IT problems being encountered most often are:
* Text messaging at inappropriate times (78.2 percent);
* Inappropriate use of the Internet (77 percent);
* Excessive personal calls on cell phones (71.5 percent)
* Excessive tweeting (67.3 percent).
More than half (55.3 percent) of responding employers think the young, new employees' sense of entitlement has increased. Likewise, more than half (52.2 percent) of responding students believe a sense of entitlement among first year college educated employees has increased.
The answer: Training, training, training. Ongoing training. The investment far outweighs the loss of customers. Employees are often unaware of how they are being perceived. Impression Management Training can enlighten even the most clueless offenders. In 35 years in business, companies I see receiving highest benefits endorse individual consultations/assessments following group seminars.
Helen Perry, Corporate & Personal Image Consultant, guides her clients with a seasoned eye and expert approach. They emerge with a polished presentation resulting in more success, opportunity and productivity. She received the 2013, 2014 Pinnacle Award and The BBB Award of Distinction in 2015.