To Swear Or Not To Swear In the Workplace, That Is the Question.

“While a July 2012 survey by CareerBuilder found that bosses might be less likely to promote employees who swear, more than half of respondents said they do it anyway,” states Gwen Moran in The Daily Dose. We all do it from time to time, but does that make it right?  Whether your work place allows swearing or it is severely frowned upon, you should keep the following in mind.

  • Be upfront about your workplace culture.  State the obvious expectations and do so as early as in the interview process.  If you have a freelance business where language is not considered offensive, it is essential to let your future employees know this.  By doing this, your new employees may be less offended in the long run.  It also informs the future employee of expectations of them and a possibility to avoid the embarrassment if they decide to drop those not so pleasant f-bombs.  Most importantly, once you’ve established the culture of the office, be the model for that environment.  If swearing is frowned upon, you don’t want to be the one to “go off” during a meeting, as others will soon follow your lead.
  • Respect other’s feelings.  Age, gender, and religion are just a few of the factors that play into how employees feel.  One person cussing in a fashion such as “this sucks,” may be much more offensive to an older employee in the office, than a younger employee.  Above all, encourage employees to avoid offensive language, especially around those that could be insulted by such remarks.  We all have slip-ups from time to time, but it shouldn’t be too much of an endeavor to refrain from the big cuss words.  And most importantly, avoid cussing around customers, vendors, and suppliers, especially if you don’t know how they feel about such language.  Being professional is only going to benefit your company’s image and future successes.
  • Consider context.  If you don’t appreciate colorful language as a boss, and you hear someone accidently swear, it’s probably best that you not make the biggest deal about it.  You’ve stated your opinion on the culture that you wish to uphold, and employees should respect that.  As we’re all adults, these mishaps are bound to happen.  It’s when they become abused, that you should consider addressing the issue.  A happy work place is just that and we want our employees to feel at ease and comfortable.

So… to swear or not to swear is the question that you, as a boss, will need to address.  If you’re not offended by cussing, make sure your employees know this.  If you are, then that is equally important.  Be the model for the behavior that you would like to see throughout the work place.  Set the limits and the boundaries.  The face of your company comes from within, and it’s up to you as to how you want your company’s image to be portrayed.