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Photo of woman on phone in office to illustrate: Is professionalism becoming underrated?

Professionalism. It’s a nice buzzword. Everyone knows it’s important, but why? What does it mean? And why can’t we just forego it in favor of a really fun personality?

Professionalism is a worker’s behavior, appearance, and set of ethics in the workplace. When your employees demonstrate professionalism, they’re generally perceived as more credible and reliable than their coworkers.

5 Tips for Professionalism in the Workplace

Here’s why it’s important to hire people who are professional and why it sometimes gets overlooked.   

Competent Perception  

Employees who behave professionally are often perceived as more competent and responsible. They’re seen as loyal and dependable and more valuable to the wellbeing of the companTheir sense of professionalism—hard work, positivity, focus, respect for the company, and so on—will be contagious to the rest of your employees. And it will impress your clients and customers.

When you interview candidates, check out their appearance and demeanor. Is this someone who could represent your company to the outside world? Do they seem credible and trustworthy?  

Hire Future Managers  

It’s said that an employee’s level of professionalism can make or break their career. If an employee can’t demonstrate professionalism, no one will take them seriously. They’ll probably be passed over for raises and promotions.This means that when you hire someone who demonstrates a high level of professionalism, you’re probably hiring one of the future leaders of your company. You’re hiring someone who respects your company and honors their work.   

Higher Standard of Ethics  

Professional people have a strong sense of ethics. This means they can operate fairly and honestly, avoid legal problems, and hold themselves accountable for their mistakes. When you’re interviewing candidates, ask them about a time they made a mistake.

Listen to hear whether or not they own up to it and accept responsibility. Professional employees can mitigate conflicts effectively. They can deal with a wide range of people. This high standard of ethics extends to creating boundaries between your employees and their subordinates, superiors, and clients.    

Increased Productivity  

Workers with a professional attitude can focus on their work and avoid unnecessary distractions. This allows them to contribute more to the company. Professional people have a great degree of dignity and pride in their work, consistently turning out a quality product.

They have an inherent ability to do what’s expected of them and deliver quality work because they’re driven to do so. Ask your interview candidates about their achievements and major contributions at their last job.  

Does personality trump professionalism?  

Sometimes hiring managers are charmed by a charismatic personality when they interview candidates. And sure, personality is important, especially for someone in a sales role or that deals with clients and personality and professionalism are not mutually exclusive.

But a lack of professionalism suggests a lack of respect towards an employer. Ethics, productivity and a responsible, loyal demeanor are far more important than a bold, outgoing personality. 

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