Ethics refers to a set of rules that describes acceptable conduct in society. Integrities serve as a guide to moral daily living and helps us judge whether our behavior can be justified. It refers to society’s sense of the right way of living our daily lives. It does this by establishing rules, principles, and values on which we can base our conduct. The concepts most directly associated with ethics are truth, honesty, fairness, and equity.
While ethics is a societal concern, it is of critical importance to the professions that serve society. Because professionals such as physicians, attorneys, engineers, and property and facility managers provide services that affect our welfare, they develop professional codes of ethics that establish professional standards for behavior. No matter how big or small your company is, values and ethics are important in the workplace to:
- Promote positive personal and interpersonal behaviors
- Uphold fundamental responsibilities and accountabilities
- Continuously improve and enhance upon excellence and professionalism.
Every company should create a culture of ethics. If the senior leadership ignores or downplays a culture of ethics, they have created barriers to ethical behavior and opened the door to ethical dissonance, a situation where an individual’s ethics is at a higher level than that of the company. This kind of corrosive environment can lead to misappropriation of assets and/or fraudulent financial statements. Also, the way in which employees treat each other and interact with management might create ethical dilemmas in the workplace. A culture of ethics does not guarantee financial success, but it can add to the bottom line financial performance of a company.
Employees in all companies are expected to be accountable for their actions and their assigned responsibilities. At a basic level, that means showing up when they are scheduled and on time, and not taking advantage of time allotted for breaks. It also means carrying out assigned responsibilities, meeting deadlines, accepting responsibility when things go wrong and willingly working toward a resolution of problems or issues. And sometimes it might mean working longer than planned to see a project or task through to completion.
It not only helps in keeping order but ensures that a company runs smoothly by avoiding ethical risk, prevents the escalation of disrespectful and unproductive behavior and ultimately remains profitable and successful. Each individual company should make its values and ethics known almost immediately, during the interview process and, after hiring an employee, continuously sustain it in all human resources and management practices. And in many businesses, no matter how well an employee performs, the “how” is equally if not more important. If workplace values and ethics are not followed, it can result in termination.