We’ve all been to a store, restaurant or another setting where you’ve seen That Employee: The one who was so unprofessional in so many ways that you wondered how he or she was still employed there. Since you’ve seen it in person, then you already know how bad it looks when an employee is a loose cannon among an otherwise courteous, professional staff. What are two things can you do as a manager to boost a sense of professionalism in your business?

Create a Dress Code

It’s on you whether or not you want to allow tennis shoes and jeans at your office, but think about other, even more casual wardrobe choices you’d prefer not to see your employees wearing at work. Consider tightening your dress code and banning things like:

  • Flip-flops and other inappropriate footwear
  • Super lively garment pieces better suited for a nightclub
  • Ripped, torn or stained items

Maintain a Courteous Environment

A kindness culture is an important aspect of any workplace. If your employees dread coming in because of the terrible people they work with then this is a problem. Make small things part of your new employee training, but lead by example as well in some of the behaviors you’d like to see (and some you don’t want to see):

  • Positivity is what keeps the company’s heart beating. Try to encourage a sunny-side-up attitude and focus on the good parts of a bad situation instead of bogging down in the negative parts.
  • Keep your mouth clean and make sure that everybody else knows to do the same. No matter how you feel about swearing in your personal life, not everybody uses foul language. Strongly discourage profanity and remind the staff that they never know who they’re going to offend, so simply don’t swear. 
  • Discourage the spread of gossip. Seriously, as a group of working adults why does it matter that Debbie and Larry were making eyes at each other over the copy machine?
  • Develop a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. We’d like to think that as we grow up everyone grows out of bullying behaviors, but for some people work can be as bad as the middle-school locker room. Make it clear that you take all reports of bullying very seriously and that it has no place in your company.

Professionalism takes many forms, but some people need more physical reminders than others on maintaining it. Encourage your staff to stay professional to appeal to as many customers and potential customers as you can.