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6 tips to ensure your employees practice good business ethics

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The employee-employer relationship is much like that of a child's relationship to his parents. As with children, employees look to their superiors for cues that will help them in determining what kind of behavior is acceptable. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules and some people will choose to act contrary to how they have been instructed. But for the most part, the most powerful way to ensure that your employees practice good business ethics is to make sure that you are the example to follow.

Some people are going to need a little bit more instruction to catch on to how important business ethics are to you. This is where a code of ethics and policies, procedures and training that reflect good business ethics. If you want to make your company one where employees value business ethics it is going to take some work (and careful employee screening). Below you will find a list of 6 helpful tips to ensure your employees practice good business ethics:

  1. Accept that during your process of instilling important values in those who work for you that you will come across some set backs. No matter hoe good of an example you may be or how adamant you are of your expectations, some will still disappoint you and betray your trust. Just remember that everyone will make mistakes but that in the end the result will be well worth the effort and at least better than never having tried at all.
  2. Practices such as developing codes of ethics and codes of conduct are so important because they can help prevent ethical problems before they start. Developing set rules and expectations up-front will reduce the chance of improper behavior from being widespread.
  3. Integrate business ethics with all applicable aspects of management. When planning for any kind of business venture, include a plan as to how the ethics of the transaction will be handled. Some policies and decisions will need more ethical considerations than others, but being open with the ethical issues at hand will avoid any last minute clouds in judgment. Every aspect of the business should have root in the questions of "What ethical values are preferred in the workplace?" and "What ethical values you believe should be most prominent in the organization's culture?"
  4. Allow your employees to have input in the development and implementation of good business ethics. This will give them a sense of ownership and a greater likelihood to adhere to standards that they themselves decided on.
  5. Make real-life ethics decisions in groups. When there is an ethical decision to take care of, make the problem known to your group of employees. Let them know that their input is valuable and allow them to put their training in ethics to the test. When a decision is made, make that decision public. Your employees will appreciate the opportunity to receive recognition for coming to a fair decision and they will be more conscious of the bias and other implications of their decisions if they know before hand that their decisions will be made known to all.
  6. When an employee makes an ethical mistake or misjudgment it is important to value forgiveness. An employee who has knowingly made a mistake and who is open with his confession has the potential to become one of your most ethical employees. Like it or not, you are not just training your employees for good ethical behavior at work, but you are teaching them good ethical behavior for life. People make mistakes and mistakes are often the most powerful learning tool. Support your stumbling employees and give them the opportunity to prove to themselves that the next time they are presented with an ethical decision, they will make a wiser choice.

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Posted by DF
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