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Meaning of Professionalism and Work Ethic

by Billie Nordmeyer

Businesses should care a lot about professionalism and work ethic. If a business lacks professional employees with strong work ethics, this fact will be reflected in customer feedback, customer loyalty and eventually in the company’s long-term viability. Companies that hire professional employees who consistently demonstrate a strong work ethic win in terms of better customer service, improved product quality, more effective problem solving, a higher number of long-term customers, more reliable work processes and larger financial rewards.

Exhibiting Professionalism

“Cruising below his potential” is a phrase that’s used to describe too many employees while companies need employees who are passionate about their work. The U.S. Department of Labor describes professionalism as the willingness of competent employees to be responsible, productive and accountable, and to communicate effectively, regardless of their job or industry. Professional workers also manage time effectively and adopt high work standards that reflect the employees’ honesty and integrity. These professionals also take pride in their work and are committed to quality.

Displaying a Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic know what to do and then do it. According to the Labor Market and Career Information Department of the Texas Workforce Commission, work ethic is a belief in the moral benefit of work and the ability of work to strengthen a person’s character. Because of the effort exerted by people with a strong work ethic, these employees consistently contribute to a company’s stability and success. These employees are willing to sacrifice in exchange for the sense of pride and personal accomplishment they feel when they achieve their goals. Important to the productivity of a company, these employees arrive at work on time and request days off only when necessary. Employees with a strong work ethic also follow company policies and refuse to support others who lie, cheat or steal.

Importance of Professionalism and Work Ethic

“Succeed at Work,” published by the Texas Workforce Commission, states that professionals who exhibit a strong work ethic are valuable employees who might be rewarded with promotions, new work opportunities and salary increases. Equally important, co-workers value such professionals for their contributions and are confident they will do their part to accomplish business objectives. Professionals with a strong work ethic experience the emotional rewards of achieving personal and professional goals.

Employability Skills

The National Association of Manufacturers refers to professionalism, work ethic and similar attributes as “employability” skills. According to the association’s 2011 report, 40 percent of association members cited a lack of employability skills as a reason the companies can’t hire and retain employees. These findings are mirrored by the 2013 Professionalism Study conducted by York College of Pennsylvania, which cited a lack of professionalism as an issue with today’s workforce. This study found that in 2013, 44 percent of survey respondents who are responsible for hiring new college graduates report a worsening of work ethic, and 35.9 percent report a decrease in the number of new hires who demonstrate professionalism.

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