Ethics at Workplace – It’s all about Doing the Right Thing
Any tool can be used for good or bad. It’s really the ethics of the artist using it…….John Knoll
Workplace ethics form a crucial part of every successful organization’s culture. Any organization that, voluntarily follow business ethics, have better chances of success and survival in today’s stiff competition. They prosper beyond expectations due to their ethical morals as compared to those, whose only goal is to earn profits and be ahead in the rat race, by compromising on ethical values.
In the pursuit of name, fame and profits, organizations fail to recognize that these are the end results of ethics and excellence. The ever increasing cases of scandals, frauds, and scams in various organizations have made ethics at the workplace, a significant issue.
What are ETHICS? Ethics refer to a set of rules that describe acceptable behavior or conduct in the society we live in. Ethics serve as a guide, to moral values of daily living and help us judge whether our behavior is justified or not. It refers to establishing rules, principles, and values on which we can judge our conduct and understand what is right and what is wrong. The values associated with ethics are truth, honesty, integrity, equity and so on.
Let’s talk about our professional space. Now, the concern here is, are we all trained to recognize unethical behavior? Do we know how to act, how to raise awareness and how to overcome ethical issues prevailing in organizations, at every level? If no, then the question is: Are organizations providing appropriate communication, redressal mechanism and constant training to prevent and report misconduct and inappropriate behavior?
Now you may ask, why is training required to address ethical behavior? Isn’t being ethical a personal behavior, which must govern every individuals everyday transactions? Isn’t ethics something that must come naturally to a human being? MUST but DOESN’T always. We have got so deep into the rat race that, ethics are many times compromised to suit situations. What then?
Our actions, affect not only ourselves, but also those around us. Most of our professional and personal decisions involve ethics. In our professions, if an unethical decision is taken, it could lead to our organization suffering heavy losses due our unethical behavior. Telling lies, or indulging in some sort of manipulation, can destroy the image of our organization and our own character. When we work for the organization, our honesty and integrity must be, for the welfare of the organization. Each person has the ability to build, change, or even destroy his or her own character. Similarly, bad thoughts and toxic behavior can destroy our character, thereby undermining our integrity.
While businesses focus on profitability and success, it is very important to train employees on being ethical. Training in ethics help build a strong team and fosters values such as honesty, loyalty and develops a sense of ownership amongst employees. Every organization, irrespective of the industry, has certain guidelines which its employees must adhere to.
Some common workplace ethics include:
Time Awareness: Being punctual, adhering to lunch/tea breaks, attending scheduled meetings on time, completing projects on time
Ownership and Responsibility: Taking ownership for designated tasks and completing the same. Not getting into the “blame game” scenario. Taking ownership for both, the bouquets and the brickbats where one’s responsibilities are concerned. Being productive
Team Spirit: Working with co-workers as a team, respecting others, and being a good team player
Integrity: Being honest and doing the right thing at all times, irrespective of the repercussions
Dress code and behavior: Wearing the right dress code to suit professional workplace culture. Working with a Positive and Confident attitude
Some other important ethics, to practice at the workplace would be:
Taking initiatives, proactively – walking that extra mile
Being professional – this will create new standards of excellence
Blowing the whistle – not an easy task, but essential. When you see anyone doing something unethical, let the management know
Employees having strong ethical values in their personal and professional life excel beyond their capabilities, as compared to those for whom work ethics is a challenge; but everyone needs to be trained on being ethical at the workplace
So, how do you train employees to maintain an Ethical Workplace Culture?
Trainings would involve making employees understand and inculcate some very important aspects, which involves both, professional and Psychological factors.
Understanding the written Code of Conduct of the organisation
Understanding what is right and proper, and also good for the business which will garner long-term success for the organization
Promoting a strong public image for the organization. Customers, like doing business with an organization, they can trust
Making the best productive use of resources – money, manpower, time, and effort – for organizational benefit
Maintain quality and productivity of goods and services. No corner cutting and cheating customers
Enhancing the trust factor between employees and management, so they can work together more harmoniously and effectively
Creating Role Models: If your employees see you as their role model, it would be easier for them to adhere to the company’s code of conduct and ethics. Seniors behaving in an ethical manner will set an example for juniors to follow. It is well quoted, “Great leaders lead by example”
It’s all about putting these ethics to work. It’s all about just doing it.
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