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Introducing your employees to ethics

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Ethics in the workplace can be defined by the way employees and managers handle both internal and external transactions of the business. Unfortunately, many businesses have proven that the trying economic times, the opportunity for quick financial growth, and ethical treatment of customers and employees do not always go hand in hand. In fact, what has been found by many an employee and manager, is that in times of economic hardship, companies are more apt to disregard their past ethics and use improper ways to grow their profits.

Most companies realize the need for legal compliance and a strong set of business ethical practices. Bringing about ethics brings about stronger customer relationships, better employees, and a better overall company. When a company loses it ethics, it will decline and before long you will see it turn into a corrupt organization like an Enron. You are the leader of the company and it is your job to set the standard for the way in which your employees work and their ethics. You need to teach ethics to your staff by your example of being a person of honesty and integrity. Try implementing an ethics program into your organization as it will make your employees better and will make the company better.

An effective ethics program establishes:

  • A code of conduct - to reduce the risk of criminal behavior, insubordination and lowered morale in the office environment.
  • Quick investigation - to detect wrongdoing by any employee or manager, and minimizes the consequences of the behavior.
  • A philosophy - a demonstration of ethical and legal rules during the investigation to prove to internal clients and external supporters that the process works.
  • A reduction in fines - for when the company must legally pay for wrong doing.
  • An enhanced company reputation - to ensure positive visibility in the office as well as the business community.

Building an effective ethical program can be challenging and offers three choices for doing so:

  • In house - Developing an in house program using the resources and expertise of the employees and managers. This can be incredibly proficient when it comes to determining where past faults may lie, where corners have been cut, and how to change them without causing damage. It can also be the least effective manner if employees and managers are pushing their own agendas, are over looking common wrong doing or aren't ready to address the reality of the situation.
  • Hire a consultant - A very quick and efficient method of determining what needs to be addressed and how to address it. Can be very costly and many times frowned upon by the employees if they do not feel like they have been included in the decision making process.

  • Using a pre-made plan - This is the cheapest and quickest format to implement, but also the least efficient because it does not take into consideration the
details of the specific trade, or determine the best patterns to address the actual problems.

The next step is actually implementing your plan. Develop the manual, and put it in the hands of the executives responsible for implementing it. Used properly, this tool can yield a solid performance enhancing program that can be monitored and will stand up to the legal critique of the outside skeptics.
With step by step procedures and guidelines to implementation, training can provide employees and their managers the information they need and the expectations they need in order to have a healthy, trusting business plan.

Watch yourself and make sure you are setting the right type of example for everyone else to follow if you really want to move forward and become an honorable and trustworthy company.

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