Ethics in the Workplace

Ethics in the Workplace

We have all witnessed either firsthand or through the media companies crumbling from unethical conduct. So, we all know that for a company to survive and expand it must maintain ethical standards.

Whether you have a large or small business, it can be a challenge to oversee your employees and ensure they are working on the job and producing a good product or service.

How do You Encourage Ethics in the Workplace?

You can take steps as a leader of your team to create an ethical environment in your workplace. There will always be disciplinary actions to take, but one of the most important things you can do is to have a proactive system within the organization.

1. Set a good example.

Are you on time for work and meetings?  Do you follow your company’s policies, or do you believe rules only apply to employees? Do you make allowances for some employees because they are your family or friends, but you are harsher on others? Employees will look to you to set the pace for the organization’s ethics so, set a good example.

2. Make sure your company’s policies are well-known.

Don’t assume that all employees know what the company policies are. Make sure all policies are written down and made known to employees. And, as you make new policies, ensure those are in writing and made broadly known to your employees.

3. Document Policy Violations

Don’t let policy violations go unhandled until you are fed up to the point you have to fire someone. Employees should know where they stand regarding violating policy or ethics. For example, you could give a warning for a first offense, a written citation for a 2nd offense, and so on.

Always keep written records of violations in the employee’s file. That way, you can take up the breaches with the employee when doing employee appraisals. If it does become necessary to let the employee go, you have a written record to back up your reasons.

4. Reward Production and Ethical Conduct

You want to run a taught ship, but on the same token, you want to emphasize production and ethical conduct. When employees see that you reward production and good behavior, they will be more likely to perform better than they would out of fear of reprimands or punishment.

5. Do Frequent Inspections

If you never or rarely do inspections, you could wind up with employees who have the attitude, “The boss never comes around, so who cares?” The more often you do inspections around your business, the more employees will realize you care about their performance. And when you inspect, don’t just look, but ask them how they are doing and if there is anything they need help with. Your interest in their work will give them a sense of importance and pride in what they do.

Final Words

The bottom line is you set the standards of ethics for your business. If your company runs at a high ethic level, as new employees come on board, they will notice that your organization is a no-nonsense organization, and they need to pull their weight. However, if you run a slack organization, even new employees who might otherwise be ethical could become slack. So, look in the mirror. Make sure you are setting a shining example, and then ensure the rest of the team stays on the course!

With our 31 years of experience providing effective management consulting and training to leading businesses, we’ve found what works and what doesn’t. I invite you to take advantage of our free business analysis that precisely pinpoints a company’s strengths and weaknesses.


Rohn Walker
International Executive Technology

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