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Occupational wellbeing - 04.12.2017 klo 13.00

Let’s Behave Ourselves campaign reminds us that inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated!

Many professionals in the commercial sector are frequently faced with inappropriate behaviour in their daily work.

The Finnish Commerce Federation, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Working Life 2020 project, Service Union United (PAM) and Finnish Grocery Trade Association seek to awaken consumers to think about their role in enhancing the occupational wellbeing of salespersons and other customer service professionals.

According to surveys conducted by the Finnish Commerce Federation, Service Union United PAM and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, inappropriate behaviour in the commercial sector has increased over the past few years. In PAM’s member survey (2017), commercial sector professionals told openly about their encounters with bad behaviour.

”As a phenomenon, the amount of verbal abuse coming from the customers has doubled in the past five years. The majority of sales personnel have encountered foul-mouthing, jeering, belittling, bullying, groping and other types of disrespectful behaviour ”, says Ms Jaana Ylitalo, Collective Bargaining Director at PAM.

According to a survey conducted by the Finnish Commerce Federation, 63 per cent of enterprise respondents told that foul-mouthing and verbal abuse of personnel had increased.

”Thirty per cent of consumers had encountered other customers’ disruptive behaviour in various kinds of customer service situations, as as much as 52 % of them had witnessed this behaviour in a shop”, says Ms Anna Lavikkala at the Finnish Commerce Federation.

Having to encounter inappropriate behaviour in one’s work impairs one’s occupational wellbeing and safety. Therefore, according to Ms Ylitalo, it is good to give this issue visibility through the ”Let’s Behave Ourselves” campaign and to realize that customers’ inappropriate behaviour towards salespersons is not exceptional.

”Nine per cent of salespersons reported that they encounter verbal abuse at least once a week. Based on the results, it is evident that such customer service tasks where e.g. mental strain is heavy, tend to become extremely demanding”, Ms Ylitalo says.

The organisers and actors in support of this campaign find it important to intervene in case of inappropriate behaviour. In general, issues related to occupational wellbeing are dealt with at workplaces only but this campaign wants to have every one of us combating this sort of behaviour.

”From the employer’s point of view, this is a matter of labour protection and safety. Commerce is the largest employer in business life in general and also the largest employer of young people. For us, it is important that a shop is a safe and pleasant place to work”, Ms Lavikkala continues.

”We, the consumers, can contribute with our own behaviour to the occupational wellbeing of customer service people. We must be able to put ourselves in the shoes of other people", says Minister of Employment Jari Lindström, who acts as the campaign's patron.

Lindström also emphasises the broader societal significance of the campaign.
”The campaign seeks to promote the positive circle of wellbeing, emerging from the wellbeing of employees, from the good service received by customers and from the resulting success of companies”, he says.

Read more about the campaign on Facebook.
Follow also the discussion in social media, via #vänligtbemött (in Swedish) and #ollaanihmisiksi (in Finnish).