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Your Company Image Projected Through Your Staff


Your Company Image Projected Through Your Staff


Copyright © 2007  Yolanda Burgell
Used with permission of the author:
Author: Yolanda Burgell
The Social Skills Academy of South Africa - www.socialskills.co.za
19 November 2007

Workinfo.com Human Resources Magazine Volume 1 Issue 12, 2007

“I will pay more for the ability to get on with people than for any other ability under the sun”
John D. Rockefeller

Organisations spend fortunes on their buildings, gardens, furniture, logos, stationery to project their desired image, whilst they overlook their most important image asset - The Personnel.

The client’s expectations are raised with every step into the environment, just to be let down by an inappropriately dressed staff member lacking in business protocol and empathy.

In our country of diverse cultures, many people have not had exposure to social skills training. They are merely expected to know how to conduct themselves in the correct, socially accepted way. Companies should take more seriously the responsibility of development of their personnel as individuals. An investment in such development results in employees with sufficient self-esteem and skills to reflect a positive image of the organisation as well as themselves.

During a business meal a lack of dining etiquette discredits any academic or technical skills the individual may possess. It reflects especially negatively on the organisation that relies on the guest’s good social manners to excuse their employee’s lack thereof.

Training is often given on a "do as you are told" basis without the staff member understanding the impact of their behaviour on the client, their colleagues as well as themselves. The understanding of "why" is essential to bringing about sustainable change in behaviour. 

People are grappling with the stress of crime, broken relationships, single parenting before they even walk through the workplace door. Expecting them to listen with empathy to the client’s needs when their own needs are not met, is unrealistic. 

Focussed education ensures that the employee has insight into basic human needs which improves understanding and empathy in communication with others and empowers them to deal with new interactions.

Improved self-esteem, a positive attitude and respect for ethics are within reach when the individual understand their responsibility in making constructive choices. 

Confidence gained through appropriate dress, dining etiquette and other skills which project the individual positively sets the tone for an “I can do this” attitude. Creating an ideal foundation on which to further develop the more corporate based skills of workplace protocol and customer service. Customer service education must include listening skills in order that customers feel heard, valued and understood.  

What truly makes the ultimate and lasting impression on people is….



Yolanda Burgell is aCorporate Image Consultant. After two years with the SAA, flying on international routes, Yolanda lived in Malawi for an exciting 20 years. State Banquets at Sanjika Palace provided the opportunity to be presented to H.R.H. Princess Anne and to meet Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Vice President Al Gore and President Ali Hassan Mwinji, among others. A highlight, was her nomination by the then President, Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda, as a City Counsellor for Blantyre. Whilst serving as Counsellor, she founded the 'Adopt a School' program and negotiated donations for the erection of sanitation blocks at overcrowded schools. This project resulted in better health for thousands of children. As Corporate Image Consultant Yolanda worked with Unilever, National Bank of Malawi, Nedbank, S.A.P., Avitronics, Cathay Pacific and Equity Aviation. Yolanda's diverse talents include practising hypnotherapy as a registered member of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association, and being involved as a volunteer counsellor at Headway, Gauteng, an organization that supports people with brain injury and their families. She has now joined the Victim Support Group at Sandton Police Station. She is the founder of The Social Skills Academy, which offers a variety of carefully structured courses, for companies or individuals, covering a broad range of personal development skills and knowledge including emotional development, customer service interaction, social mastery and public speaking. Yolanda Burgell may be contacted at 011 783 6574 orhttp://www.socialskills.co.za 

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Gary Watkins

Managing Director


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