Morality and proper procedures in the workplace should be a top concern of every employee in an organization. One of the luxuries of the modern world, immediate communication and social media, have made unfair business practices and unethical activity perhaps more immediately detrimental to a business’ operations.
Workplace ethics, more commonly called business ethics in the US, occupies a spot somewhere between law and religion. It should go well beyond the laws required for a safe workplace and cater to employees’ needs and personal preferences, but only to the degree that the interests of the company are not compromised. The behaviors that a company wishes to instill in managing workplace ethics will primarily be a result of the organizational culture which is encouraged and which guides organizational decisions.
New employees in particular are subject to violations of workplace ethics if the culture does not reinforce the ethical nature of the company’s goals. To ensure a positive and ethical environment, the guidelines for the culture and goals must be reinforced on a regular basis, and each decision made should be based on the principles of the underlying mission, vision, and values upon which the culture is intended to be based. The simplest and most effective strategy for reinforcing workplace ethics is through the coaching method of management, which requires accountability at all levels and uses a mentoring-based solution to problems with employee behavior or performance.
As with any rule or guideline that the company wishes employees to follow, the key to compliance is consistency throughout the organization. If upper management is perceived as unethical, then likelihood of the staff below them to follow a code of ethics drops greatly. Leading by example is best demonstrated in the area of ethics, as it is a reflection of a person both within and outside of the workplace, and will inspire the type of compliance that is highly desired.