Courtesy is too often lost in the company culture conversation for something that has so many advantages. Why? For one thing, too many interpret courtesy narrowly – as mere pleasantries and politeness. On the contrary, workplace courtesy primarily has the potential to continuously reshape workplace dynamics in a way that ultimately boosts productivity and solidifies work relationships. For instance, when team members consistently communicate courteously – from senior HR staff to contracted tiling service personnel – at the very least it means smoother collaboration that ultimately results in more efficient project completion.
Of course, culture must be cultivated. Here are 3 tips for cultivating a more courteous company culture.
Leading by Example
To set the tone for the organization, it’s a good idea to demonstrate courteous behavior as a leader. Why? It’s a crucial point to start to establish clear expectations for employee interactions.
You want to lead by example in team meetings, showing active listening through eye contact, nods, and open-ended questions. And it’s not just you.
Consider a scenario where a senior manager doesn’t just passively attend team meetings but actively participates. In fact, they not only educate themselves on courtesy but also engage with the team through body language, maintaining regular eye contact, offering affirming nods, and posing open-ended questions to stimulate discussions. It’s very likely that these actions will resonate with the team as they have a front-row seat to respectful communication skills in the workplace.
Effective communication is fundamental to courtesy, and so it’s a good idea to offer and even insist upon communication skills training.
Typically, it’s enough to hire a professional trainer or utilize online resources to facilitate workshops on polite communication, active listening, and conflict resolution, encouraging employees to practice these skills through role-play and real-life scenarios.
Imagine the effectiveness of an online training module that immerses employees in simulated interactions with each other. They learn to actively listen to needs, respond courteously, and give tailored responses, equipping them with the skills to excel in work relationships and interactions. Then senior management’s involvement in selecting or endorsing these training resources further emphasizes the organization’s commitment to cultivating a courteous culture.
Recognize and Reward
To reinforce courteous behavior, you want to implement a recognition and reward system that’s enough to motivate employees to continue practicing.
Luckily, there are many approaches to initiating reward programs.
For example, picture a “Courtesy Champion” program where employees can nominate their peers for acts of exceptional politeness and teamwork. This initiative not only educates employees about the importance of courtesy but also actively engages them in recognizing and celebrating these behaviors. You can even take things a step further by having senior management acknowledge and endorse these recognition programs for an added layer of prestige.
Courtesy in the workplace is an underrated tool. If you can make it an integral part of your company culture, the benefits are seemingly endless.