In order to have a successful business where employees are productive and happy, your company must follow a code of ethics, and see to it that ethical conduct in the workplace is encouraged among everyone. When you see unethical behavior in the workplace, it’s important to take immediate steps to correct the behavior and stop it from becoming prevalent among your employees. Some common ethical behaviors that should be reinforced include honesty, integrity, responsibility, punctuality and maintaining a positive attitude. Here are some best practices to follow that reinforce ethical behavior in the workplace:
1) Create a Company Code of Ethics
To ensure your employees know which behaviors are expected and which are discouraged, think about how you want your employees to behave and treat each other, and create a code of ethics to reinforce ethical behavior in the workplace. Some behaviors that many companies discourage include harassment, gossip and stealing company property and time. If you have an official document employees can refer to, there is no excuse when they are caught engaging in prohibited behaviors.
2) Be a Power of Example
While it’s important to teach employees ethical conduct in the workplace, you won’t have much luck reinforcing it if you aren’t practicing what you preach. Those in leadership roles must always aim to be a role model for your employees, because the easiest way for them to learn ethical practices is to follow the way you behave. Likewise, if you get away with certain unethical behaviors, some employees are likely to think they can as well. Reinforce ethical behavior in the workplace by being a power of example.
3) Find a Confidential Method of Whistleblowing
You want to encourage employees to report any unethical behavior they see going on in the workplace. But if they fear other employees finding out that they reported their offenses, they are likely to turn a blind eye. To reinforce ethical conduct in the workplace, you should have a process in place to ensure the anonymity of employees who report unethical behavior, such as a phone number they can call without revealing their identity.
4) Conduct Ethics Training Programs Regularly
To effectively reinforce ethical behavior in the workplace, conduct ethics training workshops on a regular basis and involve all employees. Pay attention to any new behavioral issues that crop up so they can be addressed in the workshop, and work on methods to continually reinforce the code of ethical conduct you have already outlined for your company. Train employees on principles such as teamwork and having respect for others.
5) Show Employees There are Consequences to Ethical Violations
Give employees a clear picture of what will happen if they go against the company’s ethical code of conduct. Reinforce ethical conduct in the workplace by showing intolerance to other employees that have ethical violations, by firing or suspending them, demoting their position or requiring them to attend extra ethics training workshops, depending on the severity of their violation.
6) Create an Ethics Committee
Depending on the size of your business, you want to have a person or group of people that are highly respected by employees, unbiased and good examples of ethical behavior to reinforce ethical behavior in the workplace. When an employee has an ethical violation, it will be brought to this person or persons, so the issue can be thoroughly reviewed and appropriate consequences can be implemented.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.