According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, manners in the modern workplace have taken a nosedive. We’re swearing more, handshaking less and taking a short lifetime to respond to emails and texts. What is bleeping going on?
The politeness police say we’re simply all getting ruder. Hiring managers complain of candidates that forget cover letters, thank you notes and even, on occasion, to show up on their first day. Candidates counter that AI bots can’t scan cover letters, and complain about inconsiderate interviewers who don’t even bother letting them know when their application has been rejected.
Other examples of declining business etiquette include:
– young workers in particular not bothering to participate in any bonding opportunities – such as after-work drinks – whatsoever. They’re just not interested.
– sales leads that suddenly go quiet – or ‘ghost’ – their business contacts
– leaving your job abruptly with little to no notice
– dressing too casually for business meetings, especially on Zoom
– sending emails full of grammar and spelling mistakes.
Many lay the blame for declining manners on the pandemic, unprecedented levels of open job vacancies, Gen Z and the internet. Why bother to exchange your comfy tracksuit bottoms for formal business attire when you can walk out the door at a moment’s notice, confident that your next job is just around the corner? Why take time to reply in grammatically correct language (or at all) to messages when remote working means you’re not going to have to explain yourself in person any time soon?
That said, don’t older generations always refer wistfully to the good old days? Since time immemorial, hasn’t there always been some kind of background moaning about the behaviours and manners of the younger generation? It certainly sounds familiar. So perhaps things aren’t as bad as this article would have us believe.
In terms of causes, the article refers to unreasonable expectations in the context of the pandemic and the rise of remote working. First jobbers can’t be expected to have perfect business etiquette until they have first-hand experience of the in-person working world. So let’s give them a break. And plenty of space in which to learn and grow into their newer, more etiquette-savvy selves. In case of doubt, let’s all err on the side of formality, always be considerate of our colleagues and, arguably, wheel out the swearing jar. There’s nothing quite like an on-the-spot fine to get us all out of our bleeping bad language habits.
ABL, your trusted recruitment partner, wishes you the very best of luck in improving any areas of your business etiquette that might have got a little rusty in recent years. Please let us know if there are any other work or recruitment-related matters you’d like us to explore in future newsletters. We are the UK’s number one multilingual recruitment agency and we are, as always, here to deliver!