Unethical behavior in the workplace costs businesses a lot of money, integrity, and marketable clout.
According to research, unethical business practices were on the rise a few years ago and might have gotten worse, but 56% of Americans will stop buying goods and services from brands they think are unethical, and many will actively support brands they view as ethical. Additionally, 48% of consumers consider employee treatment when determining whether a company is ethical.
So, if you want to stimulate ethical behavior in your workplace, you should consider doing the following.
Develop and Document Standards and Policies
Put clear, ethical standards and policies employees and leaders should abide by in writing, and have the employees and leaders sign the guideline documents to ensure they read and understand the information. Also, include how violations of the guidelines will be handled, including repercussions, and how employees can report them.
Foster and Enforce Standards and Policies
Continue to enforce your ethical standards and policies once they are documented and implemented to ensure they are followed and taken seriously, and be clear and specific about how these policies will be enforced and what may happen if an employee violates one of the standards, such as being handed a written warning or getting suspended.
Start at the Top
Begin with your leaders and executives to stimulate ethical behavior across the workplace, and make sure they are on board with developing, implementing, and enforcing your ethical standards and policies. These same leaders should also be held accountable for their ethical behavior, just as their subordinates are. Leaders and managers need to lead by example in following ethical practices if the policies are to be fully effective.
Provide Ethics Training
Because some common business practices are technically unethical, all employees should receive ethics training so they know how to confidently identify and avoid unethical behavior, as well as are empowered with knowledge on how to handle inappropriate interactions.
Support and Protect Employees
Make sure that you provide an anonymous means of reporting unethical behaviors and that those who do report such actions will be protected from retaliation that would prevent them from speaking up.
Consider taking the steps above to stimulate a more ethical and profitable workplace.