Cultivating an Ethical Workforce

What does an unethical workplace look like? Your workplace could be full of unethical behavior and you may not even know it. Some signs include:

  • A boss takes credit for work completed by an employee or a member of their team
  • An employee calls in sick when they are completely healthy
  • A colleague misrepresents a product to a customer to meet their sales quota

If any of the above statements are true, you may be dealing with an unethical workplace.  Over time, these behaviors can lead to job firings, a chaotic workplace and a tarnished company reputation. The long-term effects and consequences of an unethical workplace environment can include a hostile workplace, conflicts of interest, misuse of the company’s internet, falsifying time and/or expense reports, lying to customers, workplace theft and corruption.

A recent National Business Ethics Survey found:

  • 60% of workplace misconduct involved someone with managerial authority, with 25% of this group being senior management
  • 40% of workers said they had observed on-the-job misconduct that violated their employer’s rules
  • 25% of the workplace reported what they saw
  • 21% experienced retaliation for reporting what they witnessed

There are ways to reverse this trend, keep your employees and get your organization back on track.

4 Ways to Get on the Path to Ethical Behavior

  1. Set Clear Expectations.
    When hiring new employees, let them know immediately what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are unacceptable. Provide them with guidelines for their interactions with co-workers, customers and anyone who does business with you. Give them a written code of conduct and review it with them in detail, including any ramifications for violating the code. Continue to train your employees and review any changes/additions to your policies at periodic junctures.
  2. Become the Role Model for Acceptable Behavior.
    It has been proven that employees take their cues from the CEO on down, so employees will model their behavior based on what they see exhibited by management. If you expect your employees to work 50 hours a week, yet the CEO is only putting in 30, you may be creating problems keeping them on the job. Or, if a senior manager uses a fleet van for personal use, chances are that employees will also request personal use of the company van.
  3. Provide Anonymous Reporting Mechanisms.
    If an employee witnesses unethical actions, they need a safe and secure way to report it. Provide them with an anonymous method of reporting the behavior, either through a hotline or an internet form.
  4. Develop an Ethics Program.
    All companies should have an ethics program, no matter the size or the culture of the organization. A good program includes an ethics officer or committee, a written code of conduct and a means for employees to report their concerns.

Need Help Cultivating an Ethical Workforce

Tim Dimoff can help your organization cultivate an ethical workplace. His message will resonate with the audience as he talks about the consequences of unethical behavior and how to make better decisions. Email Tim at tim@timothydimoff.com or fill out the Contact Tim form to schedule him to speak to your organization or association today!

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