Why etiquette is not redundant in 2019!
That's the opposite of a telesales business I was called into to try to resolve their high turnover problem. However, I discovered the cause in the first two minutes of entering the building. There on the canteen wall was an A2 poster of an employee's head/face, underneath the heading: SH*T EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK. There was also a pen dangling on a string beside the image, encouraging one and all to add to the misery by calling this person 'loser/idiot' type names (and worse). Surprise - staff left, often and quickly! When challenged, I was told that the thinking behind this was that no one would want to be the SH*T EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK and therefore they would try harder than ever to avoid being in the bottom of the sales quota. Ugh.
Compare that company with the "Attaboy" concept which is all about a 'staff encouragement ethos' based on 'catching your employees doing something right'. That's the process of giving out praise and enthusiasm - and then watching your staff positively 'grow' because of the environment of encouragement. I know who I'd rather work for!
I treasure the civility and etiquette of the great British custom of afternoon tea. This tradition embodies the very ‘best of British’, actually the 'best of humanity' and represents us at our kindest and most considerate selves, in rapport, sharing, caring and kind to the needs of others.
Does it matter if you know the actual niceties of whether you hold your little finger out when lifting your cup, if it’s pronounced ‘scone’ or ‘scon’, whether tea or milk should go in the cup first or when you should place your napkin (or is it a serviette?!) on your lap etc? Well, those things are useful to know about because they can eliminate any concerns about ‘doing it right’ whether you’re with your in-laws, boss, friends or clients. Of course they are NOT vital, but if they can give a touch more confidence, then that’s all good. However, it will never be old-fashioned to be considerate and able to make people around you know they are cared for and nurtured.
To the question: 'Does etiquette even matter in business?' - the answer is 'more than ever'.
Watching jeering MPs on television or seeing hideous comments by trolls on social media, you might well conclude that we have lost all sense of manners and courtesy. YouTube is full of newsclips displaying us all at our worst behaviour....and offices can have their share of bullies and bad behaviour too.
The best businesses have a culture of engagement from top to bottom. Every single person there feels included and special.
Etiquette is not about snobbery, please note. It’s nothing to do with having ideas above one’s station or anything snooty or la-di-dah! Far from being about ‘class division’, it’s actually all about caring for others - and that’s something everyone appreciates AND remembers!
Didn't Eddie Stobart lorry drivers always have a reputation for being the 'gentlemen/ women of the road'? They were renowned for giving way in traffic, letting you in, saying thank you and giving a cheery wave. YES! It’s a joy to be in the presence of someone who makes you feel that way, right?
Look at this Timpson A-board outside one of their shops? Does it make you cynical and think how you'd pretend to be unemployed to get free cleaning? Or does it make you think - 'good for them', and love Timpson a little bit more? I posted this on LinkedIn and MASSES of people remarked on what a great gesture that was. They LOVED it.
Is there some way you or your company could genuinely show consideration and charm to others? That's what I call etiquette - and that’s why, when asked ‘does etiquette matter’, we should all give a resounding YES!