What if I say an ethical workplace leads to increased productivity? Would you agree? Let us first see what an ethical workplace is! In an ethical workplace employees act in accordance with the acknowledged principles of ethical behavior. It is an atmosphere created by the unconscious and conscious choices of your workforce.
To be ethical at work may include being morally right and being truthful to your employer, peers, and clients. Theft, harassment, indulging in abusive behavior, badmouthing colleagues, slacking off, misusing time, the improper usage of Internet, etc. are some forms of unethical behavior. In case you fail to live up to the ethical standards, your organization is at a high risk of losing valuable staff, clients, and above all, reputation in the market. Moreover, you may end up paying heavy penalties to the federal government for not making efforts to employ ethical measures to avoid and suppress illegal conduct.
Creating an ethical workplace is a long term process and not a one day activity. It is worthwhile to motivate your employees to ethical conduct and avoid getting into any legal tangles.
Why is it essential to have an ethical workplace?
1. Create a positive ambience
An ethical workplace inspires the workforce to be loyal and attached to the organization. Employees stay happy and satisfied and this leads to enhanced productivity. For instance, a new hire steps into the organization and observes that all his colleagues are trying to make him comfortable and helping him fulfill his roles and responsibilities. The positive vibes from his colleagues will motivate him to perform well. Also, when employees respect each other and their differences, it leads to a happy, productive workplace.
2. Encourages managers to lead and mentor
Senior managers have the onus of motivating employees to do better in their respective fields. So they need to lead by example. When top management and senior employees display ethical behavior, it’ll inspire junior employees to do the same. Seniors can also mentor their juniors and team mates on good ethical practices. Such motivation helps in building an ethical workplace.
3. Strengthens the association between employees and superiors
It is common knowledge that employees and their superiors need to work in harmony. The role of superiors is not just to guide and lead their team mates, but to also develop a strong bond with them. They should be available whenever their team mates require them. Such a bond ensures an ethical workplace.
How to build an ethical culture at the workplace?
1. A Written Code of Conduct
If you want your workplace to be ethical, you need to have a Code of Conduct (CoC). A CoC is a set of rules that define the social norms, laws, and responsibilities or appropriate practices for an employee or organization. These are the moral aspects employees or organizations need to adhere to. This involves moral and honor codes and religious laws. Any employee, whether a new hire or an experienced person, needs to follow it religiously.
2. Ethics and Compliance Training Programs
It is important for organizations to take their workplace ethics seriously as by doing so, they give a clear indication to their employees that they also need to consider it seriously. Even the significance of compliance programs should be well-conveyed to employees. They should know why it is necessary to comply with the compliance standards. Involving some members of the top management in your ethics and compliance programs will help your employees understand that cultivating and adhering to the ethical code in the workplace is mandatory.
3. Role Models
You need to ensure you area role model to your employees. For that, you need to set an example by behaving in an ethically upright manner. They will in turn try, to emulate you and thereby, you succeed in building an ethical culture at your workplace.
How e-learning helps in creating an ethical workplace
Now that you know how important it is to have workplace ethics in place and how to build an ethical workplace culture, it’s time to know how e-learning can help you create one.
1. Scenario-based learning
Scenarios enable your employees apply their knowledge in real work situations. They give them a safe platform where they can try, fail, and then retry. There is a storyline that offers a situation similar to their daily work and they have the freedom to choose their response. They proceed and face the consequences and learn from their experience. And the knowledge that comes through experience remains for long. For instance, if you want to train your employees on gifts, travel, and entertainment, you can design a scenario in the online compliance course where an employee meets a delegate. He needs to take decisions on how much to spend on travel expenses, gifts, and so on. This approach helps in knowledge retention and your employees can apply the knowledge in their workplace.
2. Video-based learning
Videos engage learners with their visual impact. Hence their power can be utilized to
Deliver Code of Conduct compliance training. As known, CoC has to be followed not only by your employees but also by your third party business associates. But traditional classroom training does not fit into this frame. Hence compliance training videos can be shared through WebEx or other videoconferencing tools with your business associates and they can go through them at their own pace and time. Code of Conduct training can also be imparted through mobile microlearning modules that hardly take 5-10 minutes. For example, if you want to train your employees on the treatment of confidential information, you can show them a video that is more appealing than text being read out. What they watch is better retained than what they hear.
3. Game-based learning
Game-based learning incorporates game-like elements in training
programs. It is ideal to train your employees on compliance as they engage
learners by offering badges, trophies, and virtual prizes for completing a level or for further progression. Leaderboards motivate your employees as they can view their peers’ scores and score better to outdo them.
4. Game-based assessments
Till now we’ve seen how to make dry compliance training interesting, but what about assessments? You can even make assessments engaging using games.
For example, you can use an interactive assessment that works on the lines of the well known game, Tic-Tac-Toe. This game consists of 9 questions, grouped in a 3×3 grid. The learner should select an empty square to answer a question. For every correct response, a `bouquet’ will appear, and for an incorrect one, a `brick’. The learner wins a bonus point whenever he answers 3 questions correctly in a row, vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. The game can be made more interesting by adding a timer.
To safeguard your reputation and build morale among employees, it is important to have an ethical workplace. Having a written Code of Conduct and an effective compliance training program go a long way in achieving this. But to make the dry and boring compliance content immersive and interesting to learners, harness the power of e-learning. This technology-enabled learning solution will help you teach your learners through scenarios, videos, and games – formats that’ll appeal, engage them and thereby increase the effectiveness of your compliance training.