There are so many reasons why having good ethics is important for business. It shows that you care about more than just making a profit, gives your company an excellent reputation, and helps you attract top talent within the industry.
Yet, it might not be obvious as to what makes a business ethical.
What can you apply to your business to better meet ethics standards?
It’s okay not to have all the answers right away – but I’d like to help you to think it through.
As you might know, I started my career working in New York’s top ad and marketing agencies – rising up quickly to Senior VP.
But then I quit in my late twenties (to my parent’s horror) to pursue becoming a (hoped for) bestselling author.
Plus I wanted to help people – in a more personal way – as a branding and marketing consultant. Thankfully, my career plan/dream worked out! Now I love to help people with their writing, marketing and various entrepreneurial ventures.
With this in mind, I have compiled a list of crucial ethical business practices that you can use to upgrade your company, so keep reading below.
When discussing business practices and ethics, you’ll find that any ethical company clearly states its ethical standards and values. If you’re unable to find a mission statement on a company’s website, this is a sign that they might not hold their employees to high ethical standards.
An ethical business will have clearly defined values that every employee in the company knows. It should be listed in the employee handbook under a code of ethics section.
This section should be written clearly to avoid miscommunication, so you know everyone working in your company holds the same values as you. This is even more important for the leaders of your company.
When making any decisions regarding work or other employees, leaders should always refer to the value and ethical standards of the company first. This will help demonstrate the acceptable way to work from the top down.
One of the best benefits of ethical business practices is involvement in the community. Almost all ethical businesses become active in the community and want to create positive change in the world.
This could be in the form of setting up an employee volunteer program, donating to worthy charities, or raising money for local causes.
It doesn’t have to be an expensive involvement, but it must be genuine, consistent, and done with good intentions.
While being ethical should be a reward in itself, it’s wise to incentivize ethical practices to get everyone in the company on board and excited.
It can be as simple as praising an employee when they perform ethical behavior, especially when it would have been easier to act unethically. While you don’t have to reward them with something physical, acknowledging that you know what they did can lead this person to continue acting ethically.
You can also set up a rewards program within your company, such as employee of the month. When someone wins, they can get a bonus in which they can either buy snacks for the rest of the company or donate it to a charity of their choice.
Just as you should reward ethical behavior, you also need to discipline unethical behavior. Make sure to be consistent with your punishment, and always have it match the crime.
It would be best if you created a set of policies that you stick to from the beginning. Consistently enforce the rules to demonstrate how important your values are to you.
This will demonstrate that you have no tolerance for unethical behavior and will set a precedent for the rest of the company, lowering the chances of others acting unethically.
Choosing sustainability is top of the ethical and responsible business practices. As it becomes more and more vital that the planet is taken care of, implementing sustainability into business is essential.
There are many different ways to do this, such as using sustainable printing, creating recycling programs, and installing solar panels.
If you want to be an ethical business, there is no way to get around becoming eco-friendly.
If the leaders in your company aren’t held to the highest standards, you may eventually wind up using unethical business practices. This is because the leaders in your company have the most influence over the rest of your employees.
If you let them get away with little things, they’ll eventually also get away with big things. Your employees will see this happening and realize the standard changes depending on the power you hold.
To prevent this, your leaders need to be held to the top standards of your company. They should hold everyone else to this standard as well.
This can help inspire other employees to become ethical leaders, which is how you can continue to sustain your business.
To show the importance of ethical business practices, you must constantly remind your employees of the company’s values. Having it at the forefront of the mind will make it much easier to hold it at that level continuously.
It would be best if you did this for everyone in your company, from those that are entry-level to those that are top-level. If you’re always there to remind everyone, they will be much less likely to do something unethical and justify it.
Of course, make sure not to overdo it. You don’t want the reminders to turn into a negative thing.
Overseeing an ethical business is an important job, and it doesn’t have to be challenging to do so. Make sure you establish your values first and hold yourself and everyone else in the company to them at all times.
If you do this, you’ll be sure to be successful in your ethical business practices.
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