Cultivating and Keeping an Ethical Workforce

ethics, ethical workforce

What is an ethical workforce? More importantly, what is an unethical one? 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
  • A manager or team member bullies one or more individuals without repercussions
  • An employer refuses to give out bonuses and commissions even though the sales team met their goals
  • An employee calls in sick when they are physically and mentally healthy
  • A colleague misrepresents a product to a customer to meet their sales quota

If one or more of the above statements are factual, you may be dealing with an unethical workplace.  Over time, these behaviors can lead to quiet quitting, a chaotic workplace, and a tarnished company reputation. An unethical environment’s long-term effects and consequences can include a hostile workplace, conflicts of interest, misuse of the company’s assets, falsifying time and expense reports, lying to customers, workplace theft, and corruption.

Employees are trying to Help

A 2020 Global Business Ethics Survey found:

  • In the U.S. and globally, 80% of employees reported misconduct, up from 25% in 2016
  • 79% of U.S. employees reported experiencing retaliation for reporting what they saw
  • 29% of employees reported pressure to compromise ethics standards
  • Only 20% of U.S. employees were in workplaces with a strong ethical culture

This survey is sad, indeed.

So as an ethical leader, what can you do?

4 Ways to Get on the Ethical Path

ethics, ethical workforce, happy workers

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter

  1. Set Clear Expectations.
    When hiring new employees, provide guidelines for their interactions with co-workers, customers, and anyone who does business with your organization. Please provide them with a written code of conduct and review it in detail during the onboarding process. Train employees and review any changes to your policies at least once a year.
  2. Become the Role Model for Acceptable Behavior.
    It has been proven that employees take their cues from leadership. If you expect your employees to work 50 hours a week, yet the CEO is only putting in 30, you may create problems keeping them engaged or focused on the work.
  3. Provide Anonymous Reporting Mechanisms.
    Employees who witness unethical actions need a safe and secure way to report them. Please provide them with an anonymous method through a 1-800 employee concerns hotline or online form.
  4. Develop an Ethics Program.
    All companies should have an ethics program, no matter the organization’s size or culture. A good program includes an ethics officer or committee, a written code of conduct, and a means for employees to report their concerns.

“When trying to provide a positive Work Culture, it all starts with your attitude of NOT allowing anyone to be harassed in any fashion and promptly responding to every potential complaint!” shared Timothy Dimoff.

Ethical Resources

Here are three books on workplace ethics:

Beyond Happiness and Meaning: Transforming Your Life Through Ethical Behavior

The Conscience Code: Lead with Your Values. Advance Your Career

Building an Ethical Workplace: A Mini-Workbook to Understanding the Importance of Ethics and Cultural Sensitivity


Timothy Dimoff Can Help You Create an Ethical Workforce

Timothy Dimoff, Author
Timothy Dimoff, Speaker & Trainer

He can help your organization cultivate an ethical workplace. His message will resonate with the audience as he discusses unethical behavior’s consequences and how to make better decisions. Fill out his contact form to schedule a training or speaking for your business or organization.