Business is Business

Business Is Business, Right?

When I was younger I use to hear adults say that you cannot talk about this or that at work. There was no place in the business world for talk about finances, politics, religion, or any type of work place harassment.

My grandfather would always say it was none of anyone’s business what was in his wallet, so don’t ask. Secretly, I knew there was always $102 in there. The $2.00 was always for an Icee and Snickers bar for my brother and me!

(Can you believe you could get 2 Icees and 2 Snickers for under $2.00? My how things have changed!)

Speaking of how things have changed, why are these topics still so taboo?

Why do employees still argue relentlessly to get their point across about how President Trump is the worst President in history or the best President in history?

Why is it that Christian employees get so freaked out when a Muslim employee wears their hijab?

Why are men so secretive about their pay but women are quick to tell everyone?

These are obviously billion-dollar questions, but the answer is simple. The workplace is now at a point where the employer must pick up where parents and schools left off, and in most cases, never even existed at all in developing an employee’s behavior. The employer must learn to invest in the development of correcting and establishing a standard of workplace behavior.

Most employees learn their work behavior from prior places of employment and prior employees they have worked with. You know “Monkey See, Monkey Do”? I do not want to generalize ALL but a lot of employees will mimic behavior that others do because “they get away with it” or “it works for them.” With a new employer, this does not work at all.

In the workplace it is our job, among other things, to teach employees how to be employees, how to “work” for our companies, and be the best employees possible. I am aware that this is not how it “should be,” but it is how it is.

Human Resources plays an integral role in building and launching training to continually develop an employee’s workplace behavior. These trainings must be specific to your workplace and the needs of the business as well. While it is important to teach employees to be innovative and to speak up, there is a tactful and better way to do this.

Once you train and equip employees with the tools necessary to be successful in your organization, those taboo conversations do not become so taboo. Employees learn the skills necessary to have discussions and to respect everyone involved. While they may not agree, at least they will be respectful toward the opinions of others.

Although taking on the task of trying to improve the workplace can be tedious, I truly believe employees want to go to work and do a great job. 

Some tips to begin equipping your staff:

  • Understand the Staff You Have in Place
    • Focus Groups
      • Learn their skill sets
      • Learn what they can offer
    • Employee Engagement Surveys
    • Peer Groups
  • Analyze the Data You Have Gathered
    • Put together data acquired from the Focus Groups, Peer Groups, and Employee Engagement Survey
    • Create a strategy to begin implementing the changes
  • Begin Implementing Training Based on the Results
    • Online Courses
    • Instructor Led Courses
    • Inter-Departmental Training
      • Led by the department expert (an employee not supervisor)
    • Cross Training
      • Led by the department expert


These are just a few tips to train the mature workforce you need, a workforce that is diverse and wants to help build your company as much as you do.

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