Charm school for office fools

by Cameron Edmond20 Sep 2013

Debrett’s, a UK publishing house that has provided advice on social etiquette for over 200 years, is now offering jobseekers the social skills they’ll need to enter the workplace.

Residential and day courses are being offered to those under 30 on ‘social intelligence’, The Daily Mail reported.

The initiative comes about following research from Debrett’s highlighting a low level of “manners, social intelligence, personal presentation” in graduates and school leavers, which thus degrades their employability.

Sixty-three per cent of senior executives stated their office juniors lacked any social skills, with some claiming it had caused embarrassment. Unrealistic expectations regarding remuneration and career progression were also prominent, as were over-confidence and formulaic responses in interviews.

Louise Ruell, director of training at Debrett’s, accredited these corporate faux-pas (which included drinking too much at work functions) with a lack of emphasis at university on teaching students how to behave, and focusing exclusively on exam results. 

“Young employees need to differentiate themselves beyond their academic achievements … the research clearly shows that this is often lacking,” she said.

But is it only Gen Y who are making office blunders? According to global research from business software provider Pitney Bowes, the types of office behaviour found the rudest are:

  • Not looking somebody in eye during handshake.
  • Not muting during conference call.
  • Checking emails during meetings.
  • Checking texts during business lunch.
  • LinkedIn invites from unknowns.
  • Emailing somebody at the next desk.
  • Text speak in emails.
  • Continuing email chain rather than picking up phone.
  • Talking on phone in public areas.
  • Not having signature line on email.
  • Use of capitals in text/emails to make a point.
  • Texting while walking in public place.
  • Requesting ‘sender received’ with every email.