Are your business ethics in danger? Whether we’re working from the office or remotely, it’s critical to be clear on what is considered acceptable behavior.
With so much uncertainty, employees may feel more pressure to draw attention to themselves, often in a “not so nice” fashion. For example, a salesperson against a quota may feel pressure to lie to a customer to secure a sale, bad-mouth a competitor, and even undermine a co-worker.
This behavior can hurt morale and, if severe enough, lead to legal problems. Owners, managers, and supervisors need to take a firm stand when it comes to ethics.
Your employee handbook should outline your expectations. Make sure they know the difference between right and wrong and that poor decision-making won’t be accepted. You can demonstrate some examples by some simple role-playing.
Leave the door open for those to ask questions before deciding how to behave in a particular situation. On the other side of the coin, everyone should be comfortable enough to report legitimate, unethical behavior in the workplace in a secure environment.
If someone breaches the correct behavior, there needs to be corrective action in place. This action should demonstrate that you’re serious and will not stand for this type of behavior. For instance, a leading salesperson falsifies an expense report. Don’t wait to see if he/she does it again, but face it head-on quickly.
Change can be difficult, especially for long-time repeated negative behavior; however, if an employee is unethical, it can hurt the business. And based on the harmful activity, it may wise to simply part ways with that employee before it costs your company more than just hurt feelings.
Walk the Talk
Your policies could be well laid out, but if you are a violater of your own rules, there’s no way you can ask others to behave differently. It’s your responsibility to set an example for others.