Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.
The way we behave at work is often quite different from the way we behave when we're hanging out with friends and family. In order for an organization to run smoothly, it's important for all of its members to demonstrate professionalism. Professionalism simply means meeting standards and expectations related to appropriate behavior and attire at work. It's important to note that professionalism varies from organization to organization and often from industry to industry, such as customer service. In some places, ripped jeans and tattoos may be considered fine for the workplace, while in others, they might be viewed as very unprofessional.
Even though professionalism varies from company to company, there are a few general categories that customer service managers can use to assess professionalism in their employees. They include:
- Ability to communicate with customers
- Appearance in the workplace
- Appropriateness of in-person or telephone behavior
- Attitude toward customers
- Proper use of workplace technology
These categories can be assessed individually, which can lead to a general understanding of the professionalism of a team member, by using the rubric and metrics below.
Understanding the Rubric
Before you fill out this scorecard, get a deeper understanding of professionalism with the lessons The Role of Professionalism in Internal Customer Service and Business Etiquette in the Workplace and Beyond.
|4||Outstanding||Team member is a leader amongst his or her peers, always demonstrating professionalism in this area.|
|3||Good||Team member is above average in this area, consistently demonstrating professionalism in this area.|
|2||Competent||Team member mostly demonstrates professionalism in this area, though sometimes he or she falls short of the highest standards.|
|1||Needs Improvement||Team member does not show professionalism in this area.|
Instructions: Use the rubric above to score each metric.
|Attitude||Team member displays a positive, can-do attitude.|
|Attitude||Team member demonstrates an eagerness to take on responsibilities.|
|Attitude||Team member works well with others on the team.|
|Competence||Team member performs his or her job duties satisfactorily.|
|Competence||Team member stretches himself or herself to grow professionally and improve performance.|
|Competence||Team member is efficient and reliable at getting the job done.|
|Appearance||Team member dresses according to industry and organizational standards.|
|Appearance||Team member is groomed according to industry and organizational standards.|
|Appropriateness||Team member's language is appropriate according to organizational standards.|
|Appropriateness||Team member respects the boundaries of others.|
|Appropriateness||Team member demonstrates an understanding of social norms in the workplace and behaves accordingly.|
|Communication||Team member is clear in his or her communication.|
|Communication||Team member uses industry and organization-appropriate grammar and spelling in written communication.|
|Communication||Team member uses respectful communication, avoiding any offensive comments.|
|Technology||Team member understands the appropriate use of technology in the workplace.|
|Technology||Team member refrains from checking phones or otherwise using personal technology inappropriately during meetings.|
After you've completed the scorecard above, you'll probably have a pretty good idea of where a team member falls in terms of his or her overall professionalism. Scores of mostly 3s and 4s indicate a high level of professionalism, while mostly 1s and 2s indicate the need for some workplace counseling and support.
In either case, communicate the results with your individual team members. Consider the following when doing so:
- Has the organization made clear the expectations for professionalism?
- Where does the team member excel at professionalism?
- What categories or metrics might he or she need to focus on?
- What tools or support can the organization provide to help the team member with his or her challenge points?
With these things in mind, you can outline your expectations for all team members in terms of where they might want to focus their efforts to become more professional.
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