The Value of Workplace Ethics

The Value Of Workplace Ethics Showing an ethics document

Workplace ethics refers to the moral code of conduct that guides employees and managers to make right (or ethical) choices when it comes to behavior or decision-making. While each individual within a workplace is responsible for their own ethical behavior, it is up to the organization itself to exemplify consistent standards of ethical conduct. As a manager, it is your responsibility to promote, nurture and enforce an ethical workplace culture. There are numerous benefits to creating such a positive, safe work environment for employees, including increased productivity, job satisfaction and established organizational and personal integrity.

How can I practice good workplace ethics?

Knowing the difference between ethical and unethical behavior is the key to ensuring a strong moral code of conduct in the workplace. Unethical behavior by management includes the following:

  • Verbal or sexual harassment/abuse
  • Leveraging sex for a job or promotion
  • Racist and/or discriminatory behavior toward others
  • Nepotism (i.e., promoting family over another deserving employee)
  • Unfair work practices (e.g., unpaid overtime, undue stress)

Here are some examples of how leaders can promote workplace ethics:

  • Show trust and mutual respect for all employees and colleagues.
  • Communicate your core values.
  • Set firm rules about which behaviors are not tolerated.
  • Take swift action against employees who behave unethically.
  • Accept feedback/complaints from employees.

Unethical Behaviors in Employees

Part of communicating your core values and setting firm rules is being clear with employees about what unethical behaviors will not be tolerated in the workplace. Examples include the following:

  • Verbal or sexual harassment/abuse
  • Violence
  • Theft or employee fraud (e.g., not recording sales, manipulating expense reimbursements)
  • Extended breaks
  • Violating company Internet policies
  • Misusing company time (e.g., working on a side business, taking many personal calls)

Keep It Ethical

Every organization has their own code of conduct. Become familiar with yours and follow it. In addition to creating a more productive workforce, being an ethical leader – and a moral human in general – can help you reap great benefits, on both a professional and personal level. Looking for an effective way to educate your employees on workplace ethics? A whiteboard video can help spread the word on your code of conduct rules and promote an ethical workplace culture. To develop your own informational whiteboard video, contact us today! For more information on various workplace topics, browse the QuickSeries® library of Work Life & Safety guides, including: Civility in the Workplace, Equal Employment Opportunity and Put an End to Harassment in the Workplace.