Childhood Manners Become Workplace Etiquette

Remember when you were little, sitting at the table, enjoying your dinner, when out of nowhere your mom says, “Honey, show some manners and chew with your mouth closed.” As you got older, the reminders may have progressed into, “Please do not interrupt me when I am speaking with someone” or “When someone is speaking to you, look them in the eyes.” Parents may not realize it, but teaching these manners to kids is building the foundation for their employability skills.

According to the article Employability Skills: The Skills You Need to Get a Job by, employability skills or ‘soft skills’ are defined as the building blocks of your career. These soft skills, also known as people skills, are applicable to all careers and are typically highly favored by employers. For many of us, we have been part of multiple conversations built around the topic of soft skills or communication skills or interpersonal skills, however you want to name it, and yet employers often say that these skills are lacking with graduates, both at the high school and college levels. Being able to prepare our youth for the workplace, and be successful, doesn’t have to be another thing to add to our to-do list because it is already happening! Whether students are at home or in the classroom, redirects about their behavior can also include saying something as simple as, “Taking responsibility for your actions is something an employer will respect” or “Employers really value employees who are able to effectively participate in a team.” As if I haven’t already given multiple synonyms for ‘soft skills’, I’ll go ahead and bundle them up into the word etiquette.

As good childhood manners evolve over time, so does the vocabulary. Workplace etiquette may not carry a lot of value with our youth until it becomes relevant, and by that time, they have already made their first impression with an employer and established their level of communication skills. It is a continuous partnership between parents, educators and career readiness ambassadors to prepare our future Lenawee County workforce with the skills needed to impress and be a success!

In conclusion, as much as I love watching The Office and laughing at the inappropriateness of “The world’s best boss”, Michael Scott, we all know that his behavior is not acceptable. What type of behaviors does your child or student think is acceptable workplace etiquette? If you would like to share how that conversation went, send your stories to [email protected]. As we say here at Align Center for Workforce Development…Empower. Equip. Elevate.