Business ethics refers to the set of guidelines or values which are used to judge an individual’s actions and behavior in organizations. Irrespective of the nature of an organization and its function, an unethical employee promotes corruption and could also be a liability to the organization. Therefore, it is important that every organization provides effective ethical training to its workforce and ensure employees adhere with ethical behavior and compliance policies.
Here are some tips to foster an effective ethical training in organizations.
1. Develop a code of ethics: The preliminary step to promote ethical behavior among employees is by establishing a code of ethics. The code of ethics provides the direction and guidelines for employees’ ethical behavior. It also helps employees understand the organization’s ethical expectations and rules.
Through a code of ethics training, the workforce gets a clear idea of the management’s expectation with respect to employee code of conduct and enhances communication by promoting an ethical culture within the organization.
2. Make managers role models: In ethical training, designating managers as role models is another way of promoting ethical behavior. For this purpose, managers need to be chosen with care and due consideration. This will be beneficial in the following ways:
- Employees will have a guiding force to promote ethical behavior
- Employees tend to emulate their managers, and if they are ethical in their behavior, it lends more credibility to the code of ethics
- If managers themselves strictly adhere to ethical standards, employees will feel less reluctant to oppose the guidelines laid out for ethical behavior
3. Disciplinary actions for unethical behavior: If any employee of the organization resorts to any malpractice or unethical behavior after completing the ethical training, it’s better to impose sanctions on them which will help employees understand the implications of inappropriate behavior.
Therefore, the management needs to lay down disciplinary actions that will be taken against employees found guilty of violating the rules. If the management promotes ‘sales at all costs’, employees might resort to any means to achieve their targets. However, if the management is serious about the means as much as the ends, they should ensure it is conveyed in no uncertain terms to their employees.
4. Rewards for ethical behavior: After the completion of the ethical training program, an employee can be rewarded for positive behavior, so that the employee will not only continue to adhere to the ethical practices but also be an inspiration to his colleagues.
Therefore, it is important that employers identify and reward employees who stick to ethical practices, despite tempting situations.
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the management to deliver an effective ethical training to its workforce to reduce wastage of time and money and ensure improvements in employee morale and productivity of the organization.