How to Build an Ethical Culture in Your Organization
A strong work ethics builds confidence that employees will do what it takes to complete assigned tasks in a timely manner. It illustrates a dedication to one’s employer and its goals, a commitment to organizational values, and a determination to get things done and get it done rightly. A strong work ethic creates an environment of dependability and accountability.
How can an organization foster a strong work ethic? Integrity is the key. Top management must walk the talk of ethics. They must create a culture that supports ethical behavior and responds to improper behavior through sanctions that are consistently applied. The message must be sent that those who violate organization norms will be held accountable. In the end, ethical leaders have a moral compass that faces due North.
Here are a few things you can do to build a strong work ethic in your employees.
- Create a supportive environment. Employees want to know that their boss will support them as long as they play by the rules and do whatever it takes to get the job done in an efficient and effective manner.
- Provide feedback in a helpful manner. Nobody wants to be torn apart in a performance evaluation. Employees expect to have a critical evaluation but one that makes constructive suggestions to improve performance.
- Ask for their advice. Employees know better than anyone else how to fix problems and can help to improve communication between managers and employees; this can lead to increased productivity.
- Create opportunities for moving up the ladder. Few employees want to stay at the same position for a long time especially if their performance justifies a promotion. Passing over employees without good reason may lead to a lack of trust and negatively affect work ethics.
- Recognize the importance of a work-life balance. Young adults and millennials seek a work-life balance. Work-life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between "work" (career and ambition) and "lifestyle" (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).
- Enable employees to capitalize on their knowledge of social media. Employees, today, know more about how an organization can capitalize on its social media presence to build customer relationships and enhance its image than ever before. Use that knowledge to your advantage.
- Treat employees with kindness and compassion. Employees are human beings and should be treated as such. From time to time they may need a day off for personal reasons or time away from the job. A trusting relationship with emotional support builds loyalty and enhances the work ethic.
A strong work ethic supports the employer-employee relationship and also builds confidence that an employee who works hard will be rewarded accordingly. Proper recognition for one’s efforts builds on the work ethic and employees feel valued by their employer. Building loyalty is a process that creates dividends for an organization and can create an ethical organization culture.
My advice is for an employer/manager to think back when they were first starting out and what they expected in their first job. What made them want to stay with that employer and build a lasting relationship? The odds are most of the same values exist today albeit in a slightly different form because of the work-life balance and the omnipresence of social media.
Blog posted on September 26 2017 by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage. Dr. Mintz is Professor Emeritus, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Check out his Ethics Sage blog. I've also just began a Higher Ed Ethics Watch blog. Check out my website, where you can sign up for my Newsletter. Like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.