Meaning of Professionalism and Work Ethic

Meaning of Professionalism and Work Ethic

by Osmond Vitez

Honesty and transparency in business practices aids in customer retention.

Professionalism and work ethic are two important features in the small-business environment. Business owners often use these elements to ensure that their company operates in the highest professional and ethical manner possible. While businesses may be started under a variety of circumstances, they often contain similar business elements. The style and organizational structure may also depend on the entrepreneur’s personal use of professionalism and his work ethic when handling business situations.


Professionalism is often defined as the strict adherence to courtesy, honesty and responsibility when dealing with individuals or other companies in the business environment. This trait often includes a high level of excellence going above and beyond basic requirements. Work ethic is usually concerned with the personal values demonstrated by business owners or entrepreneurs and instilled in the company’s employees. The good work ethic may include completing tasks in a timely manner with the highest quality possible and taking pride in completed tasks.


Professionalism and the work ethic demonstrated by individuals in the business environment may be built around an internal moral system or code of ethics. Morality and ethics usually represent the personal beliefs individuals display when working in business. Common traits often include transparency, honesty and integrity. These personal traits often display themselves publicly when individuals respond to various business situations. A professional work ethic may be seen as somebody “walking the walk” regarding their personal morality and ethics.


Small businesses often use professionalism to help them establish a good reputation in the business environment. Because many small businesses have limited capital resources during the early years of operations, an important advertising strategy is word-of-mouth. Small businesses that treat each customer in a professional manner and display a strong work ethic when completing business functions or responsibilities can help develop positive goodwill with consumers.


Business owners and entrepreneurs may decide to create a written set of guidelines outlining their company’s professionalism and work ethic expectations. These written guidelines can help the business owner translate his company’s mission or vision to employees. These guidelines may also be included in the company’s employee manual so business owners can properly train and educate individuals about the importance of the company’s professionalism and work ethic.


Transforming an individual’s understanding of professionalism and work ethic may be a difficult process in small business. Many individuals may not have the same views on professionalism and work ethic as the business owner. Business owners may hire these individuals if they have technical experience or expertise in the business, regardless of the employee’s personal moral or ethical beliefs. But employees often adopt the business’s professionalism and work ethic guidelines when working for a company, especially if they are well compensated.