Professionalism

Adapted from Tectonica workshop- https://github.com/Techtonica/curriculum/blob/main/onboarding/professionalism.md

Projected Time

About 30-45 mins

  • 15 minutes for walkthrough of slides

  • 15 minutes for Group Practice

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Prerequisites

Motivation

CodeYourFuture is a simulated work environment representative of common tech industry offices. Trainees are expected to behave professionally and to interact professionally with their fellow CYF colleagues, volunters and staff. A trainee's level of professionalism can earn them contnued support and resources as the course progresses. It is also an important factor for being introduced to hiring companies.

Importance to professionalism in workplace:

  • Creates Boundaries

  • Creates an Atmosphere of Improvement

  • The sense of Responsibility

  • Mitigates Conflicts

  • Increased Job Satisfaction

  • Personal Growth

Objectives

Participants will be able to::

  • Understand what is meant by "professionalism"

  • Understand why professionalism is important both at Techtonica and in a work setting

  • Understand what behaviors are expected of a professional

  • Understand what accepted standards of professionalism are

Specific Things to Learn

  • Dictionary definition of a professional, and an interpretation of this definition

  • Why professionalism is valued

  • Myths about behaving professionally

  • What it means to behave professionally

  • Speaking professionally

  • Dressing professionally

  • Music in the workplace

  • Research about women wearing makeup at work

  • Standards for arriving at work and leaving from work

  • Standards for the work day itself

Materials

Lesson

Importance to professionalism in workplace:

  • Creates Boundaries – Workers who conduct themselves professionally avoid crossing the line with subordinates, superiors or clients

  • Creates an Atmosphere of Improvement – A professional atmosphere is more conducive to success.

  • The sense of Responsibility – In a professional atmosphere, an employee while handling a task, sees the larger purpose, and are able to own their actions and take appropriate decisions. They take pride in performing the tasks assigned to them. This adds to the overall image of not only the employee but also showcases the value by which the organisation stands.

  • Mitigates Conflicts – businesses which promote a professional atmosphere make it easier to deal with conflict. In diverse environments team members or even clients could have a difference of opinion, but they are able to come together on common grounds.

  • Increased Job Satisfaction – Professionalism eliminates stress to a great degree and once that is taken care of an employee thrives in a healthy atmosphere leading to enhanced performance.

  • Personal Growth – Not only in terms of job advancement, but there are a certain dignity and pride in one’s work that develops. You get appreciated for consistently good quality output and that in turn builds your confidence, makes you a more secure person who is then capable of handling difficult situations with refined emotional maturity.

The slides follow along with this lesson. Be sure to view the rest of the materials section as well.

  • What is professionalism in Workplace?

    • Behave Professionally

      • Professional behaviour include the quality of work (skills) and the ability to communicate effectively with managers,teammates and clients

      • How they maintain their reputation and trust in colleagues

      • How they are regarded in the industry by others tells about their professional behaviour

    • Speak Professionally - Don't use swear words and foul language at workplace - Think before you speak, someone maybe offended by something which you think is funny - Communicate with your colleagues in the language which is primary of your workplace. This might be English for most workplaces but it could be some other language.

    • Dress Professionally

      • No swear words / insensitive language/images on clothes

      • Trousers should neither be tight not baggy and should not be ripped, regardless if they are in fashioin

      • Clothes should be free from stains and wrinkles

      • Workout clothes and pajamas are not allowed

    • Your Arrival at Workplace

      • If you have planned absence or late arrival, notify those colleagues who will be affected with your presence as soon as you aware your absence or late arrival

      • Arrive early enough so that you can give yourself sometime to get settled before the start of a workday or meeting

    • Your behaviour during the Workday

      • Do your best, try to avoid "stealing time" , which means doing non-work things during the non-break hours in the workplace

      • Don't complain much while you're stuck in something, try to learn from your colleagues and experts how to find out solutions of a particular problem

      • You should treat everyone respectfully even if you don't even like them

      • Make sure you submit your assignment and given task timely, ensure yourself that you have enough skills and tools for the assigned task or work, if you don't have just feel free to ask your colleagues and take their help

      • If you can’t make a deadline, let those affected know as soon as you realize it

      • Music at Workplace

        • Use headphones at workplace, but if you are not using headphones then make sure no one can hear your music

    • Leaving at the end of the day

      • Companies expect you to put in 8 good hours of work each day.

        • Plan to be at work for 9 hours, since lunch takes up 1 extra hour.

        • Finish the tasks you were assigned for the day before you go home.

          • If you cannot finish the day’s tasks in 8 hours, speak with your team or manager about re-setting expectations.

    • Music at Workplace

      • Use headphones at workplace, but if you are not using headphones then make sure no one can hear your music

Common Mistakes / Misconceptions

  • "This is irrelevant to me right now because I'm a trainee. I'll start acting professionally once I'm hired." Many serious athletes "practice like they play", meaning they approach their practice and training with as much seriousness and intensity as they'd put in during a real game. This makes them well-prepared for game days. At CodeYourFuture we take a similar approach, and we expect trainees to "practice like they play".

  • "If someone tells me to behave professionally, they are telling me to act more like an higher-income white person." If someone tells you to behave more professionally, they are referring to the (sometimes unwritten) behaviors outlined in this lesson. These behaviors are generally accepted across industries, roles and employment types to be "professional".

  • "Behaving professionally makes me appear weak." Behaving professionally demonstrates that you value your role, your team, your employer and are conscientious.

  • "I cannot be my authentic self and behave professionally." Being yourself and behaving professionally are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes, the "professional" you is one part of your true self who gets to come out at work, while other parts of your true self get to come out at other times.

  • "It won't matter what I do or how I act because I'll just be a junior software engineer after CYF." Junior software engineers are valued team members and are held to the same standard of professionalism as everyone else at the company. Behaving professionally demonstrates that you value your role, your team, your employer and are conscientious. Start your reputation off on good footing.

Group Practice

  1. On their own, each person writes a Slack message to a team member saying they're running late to a meeting. Then, each person shares their message aloud with the group.

  2. On their own, each person writes an email to a manager notifying them that they'll be out of the office on some future date. Then, each person shares their message aloud with the group.

  3. On their own, each person writes an email to a manager notifying them that they won't be finished with a project by the agreed-upon deadline. Then, each person shares their message aloud with the group.

  4. Pair up and demonstrate for the group.

    1. Take turns role playing the following scenario: One of you is a team member and you need to tell your manager in person that you'll be missing a week of work next month. The other person is the manager and should express disappointment that the team member will be gone, but also express that you understand. Be sure to switch roles.

    2. Take turns role playing the following scenario: One of you is a team member and you need to tell your manager in person that your project is likely not going to be finished by the agreed-upon deadline. The other person is the manager and should express unhappiness about this, but also work together to come up with a new, reasonable deadline or some other alternative (reduce the scope of the project or get help from a team member). Be sure to switch roles.

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