Workplace ethics and employee behaviour are extremely important, no matter how large or small a business is. A lack of ethics usually leads to bad behaviour, which in turn will negatively impact productivity. So what are the ingredients for an ethical workplace and how can you ensure your employees adhere to an appropriate code of conduct in your workplace?
Photo by Kevin Dooley
There are five key ingredients of an ethical workplace:
Employees with integrity are honest. They don’t engage in gossip and sniping behind other employees’ backs. If they work with vulnerable people, they treat them with respect at all times and if they have responsibility for handling money, they don’t dip their hands in the till.
Many companies have a code of conduct in place. Employees are expected to follow this code of conduct and avoid engaging in negative behaviour such as bullying and harassment. If an employee exhibits poor behaviour, he or she may be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.
An ethical workplace requires teamwork. Employees need to be able to put personal feelings to one side and work effectively together. All workplaces benefit from having team players who are able to work well with their colleagues. If everyone is working to their own agenda, things will soon fall apart in spectacular fashion.
A strong work ethic is highly desirable in an employee. A lazy individual can seriously affect the morale in a workplace whereas hard working employees are more likely to have a positive effect on other members of the team.
Accountability for ethical behaviour is essential in the workplace. An ethical employee is a dedicated employee who is committed to the company and is willing to work hard for the greater good. Employees need to be accountable. They must take responsibility for their actions, whether this involves showing up on time or putting in an honest day’s work instead of shirking or pulling a sick day.
The Benefits of an Ethical Workplace
An ethical workplace is a more productive one. Employees are more likely to want to stay in a company where they don’t have to put up with workplace bullying and other negative behaviours, and where everyone is a team player. An ethical workplace is full of employees who are equally as committed to the common goals and willing to work hard.
Ethics Training in the Workplace
Smaller businesses may not have a written code of conduct for employees, but larger companies usually do. Workplace ethics is something a new employee can be educated in when they first join the company, either at the initial interview or during an induction phase. Alternatively, employees can be sent on ethics training courses to help them deal with various issues in the workplace.
For ethics to become an integral part of the workplace, the company code of conduct needs to be followed to the letter on every level. After all, a company can’t expect its employees to act ethically if management is turning a blind eye to bad behaviour and dubious business practices.