The principles of good ethics in the workplace

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Ethics are a set of moral values that are relied upon when it comes to making decisions. In the workplace, ethics are an essential component in responsible decision-making. Ethics are more than just words used to enhance the image of a business; they are the very foundation of success. Ethics are not just a guideline for making decisions, but also the criteria on which other people judge you. In business, this is extremely important, because how people view you and your company forms the cornerstone of building trust, and if you choose to make unethical decisions, you will lose credibility, and your company will suffer.

All businesses have the right to develop their own set of ethics. There are, however, certain principles that all businesses should strive to incorporate into their business:

  1. Respect
    Probably the most important component of being ethical is “respect” – one should treat everyone with respect, no matter who they are. You can do this by being courteous and treating everyone the same. Ethical workers understand the significance of diversity in the workplace. If you respect others, you will always hear and consider their opinions and when you value everybody’s contributions, creativity will prosper and problem-solving will become easier because you have more options to choose from.
  2. Honesty and trust
    You must be honest in everything you do. When people see that you are transparent in your decisions, they will trust your company because of your honesty. People will only do business with people they trust. Being ethical in the workplace means that you do not mislead others by misrepresenting the facts or not telling the whole truth.
  3. Fairness
    Fairness shouldn’t be just something you hope for in the workplace, it should be a standard practised by all. Opportunities for career development should be fair; there shouldn’t only be focused on exemplary employees. The way conflicts get handled should also be treated fairly; no favouritism. Fair procedures will ensure happy employees, which is essential if you want to keep your customers happy – happy internal clients mean happy external clients!
  4. Lead by example
    The ethics used by leaders of a company to manage employees may impact the values and loyalty of employees. The code of ethics that leaders use is indirectly connected to the procedures of the company as well as the behaviour of the employees working for the company. When leaders have high ethical standards, their workers will be encouraged to meet that same level. Ethical leadership also enhances the company’s reputation. To lead by example means to set standards that other people would want to follow, instead of conforming to the norm. This will make your company stand out from other competitors.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE) 

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