What are three steps managers can take to create an ethical workplace?

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intheknow eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Creating an ethical workplace is critical to the success of any business.  Personal ethics can vary among employees  as it is typically in accordance to ones own moral judgement; therefore, ethical standards in the workplace should not be assumed.  Ethical standards must be explained, followed and adopted by business owners, managers and employees alike.  This benefits the business, its employees and their customers.  It is vital for management to set an example of ethical behavior.  Employees are much more likely to adopt an ethical approach to employee and customer relations if it is what they see from management.

1.  Policy and Procedure.  There should be a written policy of business principles adopted by the company to include ethical guidelines expected in the workplace between employees and if applicable, in relation to the customer.  A procedure of handling grievances in the workplace needs to be established.  Employees with a complaint should have a safe, discrete and/or anonymous procedure in place to be heard. 

2.  Ethics Training. Ethical training should be a part of the new hire process and a continued education in the employee's development.  Clear examples of ethical dilemma relevant to the business should be given, with proper answers, solutions or guidelines on what is the ethical vs. non-ethical approach to resolution and why.

3.  Consequences.  Violators of company ethics or principles need to be punished.

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