Internship Workshop IV Internship Protocol: Workplace Etiquette and Culture
What is internship protocol? • The dictionary defines etiquette as a noun with two meanings: 1. the forms, manners, and ceremonies established by convention as acceptable or required in society, in a profession, or in official life. 2. the rules for such forms, manners, and ceremonies.
What is internship protocol? • Protocol is another word for “etiquette.” • It refers to how you conduct yourself at the internship site. • How you behave at the internship site can reflect well or poorly on both you and Rosemont College.
Expectations Vary. • Workplace etiquette is simply the behavior and manners that are expected at your internship site. • The operative phrase here is “at your internship site.” • You may behave and speak one way on campus, but in a professional environment people will likely have very different expectations.
Expectations Vary. • For some students an internship may be their first experience working off campus in a professional environment. The rules are different in the workplace, but they are different in each workplace. Each company or organization has its own culture. Different professions may also have their own rules.
Know the Rules. • How can you know the rules? • The answer is that the rules are most often unwritten, but this presentation will give you a few tips to help you to make your internship a success.
Attendance and promptness matter. • This may seem unimportant but it is not. • On campus, coming in late for a class may get you a nasty look from the professor. In the work world it’s unacceptable to be late or absent.
Attendance and promptness matter. • Being late or absent will send a message that you disrespect the time of others and aren’t interested in your work. • Being on time or a little early will signal that you are eager and enthusiastic. • Make a point of being on time; better yet, try to show up for work or for your meetings five minutes early.
Attendance and promptness matter. • Serious illness or family emergencies are the only excuse for being absent in the professional world. • If you are going to be absent, make sure that you inform your internship supervisor directly by phone.
Respect the hierarchy. • Follow the chain of command. • You need to know about the formal and informal reporting structures in the organization where you are working. • Once you know them, follow them! • That means that you go to your immediate supervisor first. You don’t go to that person’s boss.
Respect confidentiality. • You are in your position to work on your projects. • It’s okay to talk about your project, issues and the work environment, but avoid talking about people. • Gossip gets around and what you say about another may come back to haunt you. What you say can’t be unsaid.
Respect confidentiality. • Don’t be upset if you are not included in some meetings or discussions. Some information and issues are only for staff ears. • Avoid office politics and do not “take sides.”
Respect your co-workers. • You should treat all of your co-workers with respect. • Avoid thinking that someone is “just a secretary.” Without administrative staff the organization could not run.
Respect your co-workers. • The administrative staff may be great allies and may help you to understand some of the unwritten, unspoken rules. • Remember the golden rule. Always treat others as you would like to be treated.
Learn basic social skills. • How you behave on campus and how you behave in the work environment may be very different. • Pattern your behavior on those around you in the workplace, particularly your supervisor.
Learn basic social skills. • How you handle hellos, good-byes, and basic courtesies of speech and action can win friends or turn people off. • Don't sit down in someone's office until you are invited to do so.
Learn basic social skills. • Keep your feet off the furniture. • Take your hat off inside! • Don't chew gum.
Learn basic social skills. • Learning social skills may sound ridiculous, but if you haven’t already learned them then you should start now. The Rosemont College library has a great book that can help you. • Sabath, A. M. (2002). Business etiquette: 101 ways to conduct business with charm & savvy. (2nd ed.) Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press. (This is available electronically through the library website)
Make a good first impression. • Learn how to introduce yourself. • Practice a firm handshake. • Learn how to make introductions and how to introduce yourself to people you don't know.
Make a good first impression. • Be friendly, smile and make an effort to do your very best. These are all parts of those important first impressions which can earn you points. • The president of the company is walking down the hall towards you; are you ready to introduce yourself?
Dress for success. • When you are at the internship site you’re not a student any more so you shouldn’t dress like one. • Look at what other people are wearing. What hairstyles or accessories are the norm?
Dress for success. • T-shirts and facial piercings may be perfectly fine on campus but in most offices they are not considered acceptable. • If you model your dress and accessories after your supervisor, you usually can’t go wrong.
Use proper language. • “What up?” “Hey, cool!” may be fine on campus but not in many job environments. • Avoid slang and speak like a professional and model your speech after those around you at your internship site.
Be a good ambassador. • For those who work with you at your internship site, you represent Rosemont College. • How you behave will reflect not only on yourself but on your institution. Your actions and attitude may determine whether other Rosemont students will be accepted for internships at the same company.