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The Benefits & Importance of Ethics in the Workplace

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If workers trust their employer to treat them fairly, they'll be happier about their jobs. Workplace ethics translate into a better work life for employees and a more motivated, loyal team for the employer. By contrast, a company that turns a blind eye to unethical activity could make itself vulnerable to losing key staff or even to a lawsuit. On top of all that, ethical business conduct is the right thing to do.

A Happier Workplace

Running a company along ethical lines and training staff to treat each other ethically is a win for employer and employees alike. If a company doesn't put up with bad behavior, such as harassment or discrimination, employees can enjoy work more. That's good for them and also for the company. Keeping employees happy reduces turnover, increases productivity and makes it easier to attract talented new hires.

Staying Within the Law

When supervisors or employees break the law, they're also acting unethically. If the company insists everyone do the right thing, that keeps operations inside the legal lines. This includes not only "sins of commission," such as selling defective products, but sins of omission – situations where it seems easier just to sit back and do nothing. If you report a sexual harassment case to your manager, and he ignores your complaint, his behavior can get the company in legal hot water.

Better Public Image

Being caught committing or tolerating unethical or criminal acts can cripple a company's image. There are several 21st-century cases in which executives learned that their staff was defrauding customers yet they took no action. Acting unethically gave the companies a bad reputation, and also cost some millions in fines or legal settlements.

Creating a Better Company

Many of the best management practices are easier to achieve if the company acts ethically. Good behavior makes it easier for managers and employees to trust each other, and for investors to trust company management. Hiring and promoting employees fairly without placing discrimination leads to a more diverse workplace and a more diverse management team. Diversity in any given company encourages different ways of looking at problems and finding solutions, which strengthens company operations.

Better for Everyone

It's not just the workers and the company who benefit from ethics. Customers benefit if they know the products or services they buy are safe and dependable. The economy benefits when companies refrain from using dirty tricks to crush competitors.

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About the Author

Over the course of his career, Fraser Sherman has reported on local governments, written about how to start a business and profiled professionals in a variety of career fields.. He lives in Durham NC with his awesome wife and two wonderful dogs. His website is frasersherman.com