What Happened to Work Ethic?

One of the common complaints I hear from clients is how their employees don’t approach their work with the same commitment and resolve that they have. The essence of what is missing is a demonstrable level of work ethic.

Can you teach this? Many think no, but I think it depends. Work ethic is not taught in the academic environment, so we can’t expect someone entering the workplace to understand what this is. Some employees may glean elements of it from observing or learning from family members, but that isn’t consistent either.

When someone begins to work in your company – experienced or inexperienced – clarify your baseline expectations in terms of work ethic. You can articulate everything from work hours to quality of work product to use of personal electronic devices on the job to how you present yourself in the office and with clients.

If you have a mixed bag of work ethic related performance in your company, “reset” the ground rules and let your staff know your expectations. Even if you’re modeling the behavior that you want them to emulate, spell it out. I know you don’t think you need to do this, but you do.

Work ethic is about adhering to protocols that result in a job well done. But it’s more than that. It also has elements of personal pride in doing exemplary work and knowing that how that work fits into the big picture of your company. It’s wanting to do a great job, not just going through the motions.

When your staff exhibits a strong work ethic, thank them and reinforce the positive behavior that they demonstrated. Once employees “get it” about a good work ethic, it’s the gift that keeps on giving, so if this is important to you, it’s well worth the efforts to make it happen.

Have a great day!

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