In simple terms, ethical thinking means sticking to or showing compliance with the rules governing an organization. So, to initiate ethical behavior or thinking in an organization, one has to examine the current process and programs governing the organization.
Let us take a look at the key steps that can guide an organization to think ethically.
Organize your business: Create a governance structure that helps your ethics program to be both independent and important within the organization. An ethical code of conduct needs to be developed that sets ethical standards and provides opportunities for demonstrating them.
Training: A vital aspect of initiating an ethical culture within the organization is to provide training to its executives and employees. Training clarifies what employees are expected to do. It also helps in getting a deeper understanding of an ethical culture’s ability to protect a company’s reputation and to enhance profits. All employees need to know the impact of ethical and unethical practices on the success or failure of the company. Training should be continuous right from hiring to retiring. In each training session, employees must be trained thoroughly on a single ethical concept as this helps to get a deeper understanding.
Anonymous Reporting: A facility where an employee can report unethical behavior anonymously serves to check if any unethical practices are being practiced knowingly or unknowingly in an organization. Anonymity helps because most employees feel uncomfortable in reporting bad behavior, due to fear of possible threat from the guilty person which may directly or indirectly impact their career.
Inculcate ethics in daily routine work: Generate a culture of responsibility, where each employee has the onus of following an ethical culture in day-to-day business practices. Try to solve a problem or difficult business issue by means of role play, and in the process communicate the impact of adhering to a particular business ethic to ensure business success.
Penalty or Reward: To create a culture of compliance, disciplinary measures are critical. Established rewards and penalties are vital to ensure fairness. A system that rewards people fairly- thereby reinforcing ethical behavior, and which metes out appropriate penalties for not adhering to an ethical code needs to be strictly implemented.
Every business small or large should have an ethical culture. Research has also proven that an ethically inclined organization provides an environment where employees are respected, are able to emphasize corporate values, and help in the maximization of profits.
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