Workplace ethics are not always top of mind in a profit-centric environment. However, the moral compass leaders establish for a company, and how they abide by those values, means a lot more than you might expect.
Workplace Ethics And Leadership
Leaders don’t just establish ethical standards in a business – they must also demonstrate them.
Leaders can set the company’s ethical standards not only by creating a code of ethics but also with their management style. This includes these elements:
- Sending appropriate messages
- Remaining visibly on topic
- Behaving in ways that match the company’s stated ethical intentions
Going Beyond Good Choices
Transparency with the public about the company’s operations is essential to establishing a business’s code of ethics, said Selepak. However, that transparency can come at a cost.
For example, does the business want its employees to act as brand advocates, perhaps even on social media? If so, Selepak urges corporate leadership to make it clear to the public that the posts are nothing more than the opinion of the writer, not necessarily reflective of the company’s morals and values.
The Ethics Of Rewriting History
To what extent does a company with any sort of blemish on its reputation rewrite its history while remaining loyal to its ethical code?
For example, said Selepak, the carbonated beverages known as Fanta were created by the Nazis. It could be tempting to conceal this information, but the lack of transparency could be perceived as unethical. The right decision is not always so clear.
Educating Employees On The Code Of Ethics
There is no time like onboarding for educating new hires about the company’s code of ethics, said James Bailey, professor of leadership at George Washington University.
Moreover, that process should be both formal and explicit, he said. Story examples are a fantastic way to connect with a person perusing the code, so Bailey advises companies to use them.
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