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People gathered around a conference table illustrating ethical companies.

Ethical companies are highly sought after by the most talented job applicants. A company that has a good, ethical reputation is a desirable place to work. Not only is it good for your company’s reputation, but it helps you avoid fines and legal trouble, even jail time. That culture of workplace ethics starts at the top leadership, and if it doesn’t exist, misconduct can become contagious. Your employees will begin to think that if one person does something that’s unethical and doesn’t get caught, they can do it, too. Here’s why you can’t rationalize your company’s unethical behavior just because everyone’s doing it.   

Ethical companies are a desirable place to work

Companies with ethical reputations attract more talented job applicants and grow into a workplace where employees have no trouble buying into the mission statement and company values. These workers are more motivated and productive. On the other hand, employees who work in a place where bad behavior is tolerated, or even encouraged, are more likely to leave, be unproductive, or grow disillusioned with their jobs.  

Ethical companies are more profitable 

Ethical companies are more financially successful, probably because their employees are more motivated and productive. They also don’t have to pay out penalizing fines; thus, they’re more stable and secure. Employees, clients, and customers don’t trust companies who have unethical reputations and are less likely to do business with them.   

Learn to be an ethical manager 

If you don’t model ethical behavior as a manager, you can’t expect your employees to do the same. You set the tone for your whole company as people assume your actions are representative of what happens in the rest of the company, as well. If one of your employees reports misconduct, you have a duty to follow-up and make sure there are consequences. Nip those behaviors in the bud as soon as possible, so they don’t get contagious, and your other employees don’t assume that everyone’s doing it. Each time someone makes an unethical decision, the next one gets easier—it’s a slippery slope.   

Teach employees business ethics  

Sometimes there’s a gray area, and your employees aren’t sure what’s ethical and legal. Because your employees come from a variety of backgrounds, you can’t guarantee that they know what’s appropriate. So it’s up to you to teach them. Incorporate ethical training as part of your orientation procedures and make sure a handbook is distributed to and seen by all your new employees. Live training is more memorable than online training, and it allows your team to talk through examples and have a dialogue about what’s appropriate.   

For more tips on creating an ethical workplace that motivates and inspires your employees, check out our website blog!


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