We hear a lot of complaints about the lack of work ethics in America today. Often people cite a customer service problem or a pet peeve that bugs them. We hear a lot of stories about rude or inept sales clerks. The lack of work ethics is a much more pervasive problem. There are employees who lack a work ethic in every business and every job.
In a way you can think of work ethics as living up to employer expectations. Work ethics can seem like the invisible employee behavior. We only notice it when it is not there.
We think of work ethics as having these components
1. PUNCTUALITY and ATTENDANCE The employee arrives at work on time, returns from lunch and breaks on time. Employee works every day with rare absences and only for acceptable reasons.
The employee uses work time as work time, not personal time. The employee is able to follow directions and complete tasks on time. The employee makes good decisions.
The employee comes to work prepared to do a good job. The employee is polite and pleasant. The employee is able to take on difficult tasks with a smile.
4. PROFESSIONAL IMAGE
The employee wears appropriate, neat, well cared for clothes. The employee practices good hygiene. If there is a company uniform or a dress code the employee respects it.
5. PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
The employee is able to work well with others, even difficult people. The employee is able to listen to boss, co-workers and customers. The employee is a team player.
6. SELF MANAGEMENT
The employee is able to leave personal problems at home. The employee is able to manage his emotions. The employee does not engage in unproductive activities such as gossiping, spreading rumors, negative talk about the company or bullying others.
For those of you who have a strong work ethic these components seem obvious and need no explanation. You probably learned your work ethic from your parents and can’t imagine being any other way. Unfortunately the work ethic problem is growing. Each new generation seems to be learning less and less about a work ethic.
So, how do you get your employees to have a work ethic? We know that you have been telling them what you expect,and from what we hear you are still struggling with problem employees.
There are ways you can help solve this problem. You can begin encouraging your high schools, community colleges, GED programs, and other community resources to add work ethic training to their programs. The youth (and possibly their parents) have had no opportunities to model a strong work ethic.
We can keep complaining or we can train the next generation to have the work ethic we need.