By Nor Izmawati Mostapar, Vice President of Corporate Communications & e-Learning at MII
The exact and correct meaning of professionalism is often unclear and misunderstood. The application of the concept varies in different organizations. Professionalism is more about what is expected of the employee by the employer and it is not limited to professionals per se. Therefore, it is difficult to list and explain the precise expectations clearly.
To be on the safe side, the customary code of conduct is our easiest adaptation of professionalism, as stipulated by the employer and based on organizational needs. As employees, we naively follow the organization’s code of conduct like office hours, lunch breaks, dress code, basic dos and don’ts, which are self-explanatory. No one ever considers, at length, whether such code of conduct actually displays professionalism or whether there is more to it than what is explained in the handbook.
Apparently, there IS more to it. These are the unwritten and unsaid expectations that an organisation has towards each employee. An employer might not tell you everything that is expected of you and your simply because you should already know about it. Issues about one’s professionalism may only arise when an employee does something that the employer would term “Unprofessional” or “Unexpected”, (for instance being absent from a meeting without giving prior notice).
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