How the Ethical Work Climate of Your Organization Can Impact Employee Performance

Ethics are the key to running a successful business. Honesty, fairness, transparency, and consideration improve job satisfaction among your employees, increase their productivity, and help you avoid allegations and legal issues that can damage your reputation as well as your bottom line.

When implemented, high ethical standards will ensure not only just and equal treatment of every employee but also above-board business practices that will keep your company above reproach.

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Let’s look at the importance of ethics in the workplace and how it impacts employee performance.

What are workplace ethics?

Some call it good behavior. Others call it a moral code to follow. Either way, business ethics are basic guidelines rooted in altruism, honesty, and legality that ensure every employee is treated fairly and with respect and consideration.

One of the main principles of business ethics is to operate in your employees’ best interests, but ethical standards also apply to the organization as a whole, and its ability to maintain ethical conduct in all aspects of business.

The benefits of ethical behavior in the workplace

Enforcing appropriate ethical behavior in the workplace does wonders for your business performance and interpersonal interactions. It enhances positive employee behaviors and boosts their motivation and drive, and it develops a powerful synergy among your teammates and promotes optimized business processes.

Unethical behavior in the workplace can put your business at severe risk of failure. It can harm relationships between employees, managers, and customers. If not addressed quickly, issues like dishonesty, unfairness, and failure to comply with laws and regulations can lead to catastrophe—both internal and external.

It’s the responsibility of every company to enforce high ethical standards, require online sexual harassment training if necessary, follow all relevant HIPAA compliance policies, and ensure all rules are followed. In other words, working ethically within a business means working collaboratively for the good of everyone.

Ethical behavior stretches far beyond maintaining a solid business reputation. Internally, it optimizes employee satisfaction, performance, commitment, loyalty, and trust. Employee satisfaction is critical, as unhappy employees cost businesses up to $550 billion annually. Employees who feel safe at work and confident in the company’s business practices will be happier and more productive.

How to encourage ethics among employees

A strong business reputation starts on the inside. Promoting high ethical standards in the workplace testifies to a team’s seamless organization, mutual support, and understanding. Here are some ways to prioritize ethics in the workplace.

1. Define your code of ethics

Articulating your ethical standards in writing sets your company’s core values and gives employees guidelines for conducting business and interacting with coworkers and customers. When defining your code of ethics, avoid focusing on what’s prohibited and instead illuminate behavior that is encouraged among employees.

2. Reward ethical correctness

If you want to promote integrity among your employees and business practices, rewarding ethical behavior is just as important as enforcing it. Awards that acknowledge standout examples of business ethics can empower and validate your employees as well as improve their self-esteem. If your employees are working remotely, a simple conference call to let them know you are impressed with the way they responded to an issue will pay dividends. The more of their peers that can also be on the call, the better.

3. Create a channel for reporting unethical behavior

An effective way to ensure high ethical standards in the workplace is to discover and address unethical behavior where it occurs. An anonymous whistleblowing system allows employees to report incidents without fear of reprisals. Abusive or illegal behavior can be dealt with internally before it further contributes to a toxic work environment or exposes you to reputational damage or even legal action.

4. Publicize your ethics

When a business gains a reputation for being ethical, it speaks volumes about its quality, unity, and integrity. By integrating your approach to business ethics into your public image through official materials, press releases, or a marketing campaign, you will reach a more clientele and build a stronger reputation.

5. Keep up with the times

Ethical standards are ever-changing, so it’s important to continually adjust. Whether it is fair wages, environmentally friendly policies, or methods of ethical production, following the latest trends means setting a proper example for your employees and ensuring your company is ethically compliant.

The bottom line

Workplace ethics are essential for your business—and everyone in it. In today’s harsh corporate environment, raising the bar when it comes to ethics will promote higher team productivity, all-around equality, and long-standing business excellence.

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