Your employees face ethical dilemmas every day in the workplace. They might be tempted to leave work early, take credit for the work of others or lie to a potential client to get him to sign the insurance policy, order the service or purchase the product that they are selling. The key to fostering strong business ethics at your company is to create an ethics policy that clearly spells out what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Cheating the Company
A solid ethics policy should clearly outline the procedure employees should follow if they need to take time off, leave early or start late. If you don't spell out these procedures, employees might be tempted to handle these matters on their own. They might claim to be meeting a client at the end of the workday when instead they are leaving early to catch a ballgame on TV. They might claim to be at a workshop for the first half of the day when instead they are sneaking in some extra sleep.
Working With Clients
Your ethics policy also should make it clear that your workers must treat clients and customers fairly and honestly. This means prohibiting employees from lying to potential clients or providing them with misleading information. Employees shouldn't hide the true price of a service, policy or product in an effort to trick customers into signing up. They also shouldn't promise more than their service or product can deliver. Employees should never bully or harass potential clients.
Any effective ethics policy forbids abusive behavior in your workplace. This kind of behavior can take many forms. Employees might engage in sexual harassment, bully other workers, tell inappropriate or offensive jokes, display pornography on their computer screens or steal from co-workers or the company. Your ethics policy must explicitly state that all such actions are forbidden at work. It also needs to spell out the punishments or repercussions of such actions.
Some employees might try to rise in your company by taking credit for work that others employees actually performed. This can have a negative impact on morale if it goes unquestioned. Make sure your ethics policy prohibits this behavior, too. Take seriously employee complaints that their fellow workers are stealing their ideas or taking credit for the reports, proposals or sales they complete.
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