Your business’ reputation matters. In order to attract customers and quality employees, you must make sure that the actions your business takes are ethical as well as legal. Ethical decisions aren’t a matter of chance. They happen when you and your managers make a conscious effort to make ethics part of the business equation. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Hire Qualified Leadership
Those running your company need to understand leadership in order to set a good example. Both you and critical staff members must truly understand the demands of leadership and how to meet them well. To that end, it is wise to consider earning a master in organizational leadership online. Understanding ethical considerations is a big part of most leadership degree programs and helps students recognize and navigate situations with potentially thorny ethical issues.
Set Attainable Goals
Working towards goals is an excellent way to advance your business and keep everyone on the same page. However, goals must be attainable. Impossible and unrealistic goals diminish employee morale and encourage employees to engage in unethical behavior. If bonuses and raises are influenced by goal attainment, employees must feel that they can meet them. If not, there is a temptation to lie and cheat in order to attain them. Create an environment where hard work and cooperation are rewarded and backstabbing and competition are not.
The Front Page Rule
Sometimes a decision that is legal may not be ethical. To combat this, teach employees to follow the front page rule. This simple rule requires decision makers to ask themselves how they would feel if the action they are about to take was reported on the front page of the newspaper. If they would be proud, the action is ethical. If they would be ashamed or embarrassed, then the action is unethical and best avoided, even if it would benefit the company in the short term.
An examination of companies considered to be ethical reveals that many of them get involved with local charities. Giving back to the community creates a positive feeling and gives an organization the chance to help others. To promote ethics within your company, partner with local volunteer organizations and promote volunteerism among your staff. Reward employees who volunteer and create volunteer events for your staff. People are more likely to behave ethically and positively when they experience the positive feelings that come with doing good.
While all of these tips will help you run a more ethical organization, the most important thing you can do is set a good example. Make ethical decisions at all times and encourage others to do the same. How you make decisions speaks volumes about your stance on ethics. Make sure your actions match your words; your employee’s behavior will follow your actions.
About the Author
Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2