20 APRIL, 2023


With the rise of social media and the increasing focus on corporate social responsibility, it is becoming more important than ever for businesses to prioritise ethical behaviour in the workplace. After all, professional ethics does more than just promote a positive company culture – an ethical workplace can also have a significant impact on the reputation and success of an organisation.

However, knowing how to define ethics in the workplace can be complex. Essentially, professional ethics is the set of moral principles and values that guide individual and collective behaviour in an organisation. The implementation of professional ethics in the workplace can lead to various benefits, including increased trust among employees, better decision-making, and higher employee morale. In this article, we will discuss the importance of organisational culture and professional ethics, how to tell when workplace ethics need to be reevaluated, and finally, how to improve ethics in the workplace.

The importance of professional ethics in the workplace

Professional ethics are essential for building a positive and healthy work culture. In the context of a fast-paced work environment, the pressure to achieve goals and meet deadlines can sometimes lead to unethical behaviour. It is therefore critical for organisations to understand what ethics is in the workplace and then use this information to establish and maintain ethical standards. This will help to ensure that employees act in accordance with moral principles and values.

When an organisation prioritises creating and sustaining an ethical workplace culture, it leads to a more trustworthy and reliable workplace culture, where employees feel valued, respected, and supported. This in turn encourages employees to work to their full potential, collaborate more seamlessly, and reach out for support or guidance when necessary.

Benefits of professional ethics in the workplace

Implementing professional ethics in the workplace can lead to a wide range of benefits, including increased trust, better decision-making, and higher employee morale. When employees are aware of the value of strong workplace ethics, they are more likely to behave ethically, which in turn can improve trust among colleagues and clients. On a similar note, an ethical workplace can lead to better decision-making, as employees are more likely to consider the long-term impact of their actions.

All of these benefits contribute to higher employee morale, as they actively create a supportive and respectful workplace culture.

How to tell when your workplace ethics need to be reevaluated

In order to understand how to improve ethics in the workplace, it is important to regularly assess the context of your workplace to ensure that ethical behaviour is being upheld. Here are some common signs that a review of your workplace ethics need to take place:

High turnover rates

If turnover rates are high, it may be a sign that employees are dissatisfied with the workplace culture, which may indicate a lack of adherence to ethical standards.

Increase in complaints

An increase in complaints from either customers or employees may be an indication that employees are engaging in unethical behaviour or that ethical standards are not being upheld.

Lack of trust among employees

A lack of trust among employees can often be an indication that ethical behaviour is not being prioritised, or that employees are unaware of the ethical standards and values of the organisation.

Low employee morale

If employee morale is low, it may indicate that the workplace culture is not supportive or respectful, which can lead to unethical and unproductive behaviour.

How to improve professional ethics in your workplace

Promote integrity in the workplace by following these seven steps to improving professional ethics within an organisation.

  1. Identify ethical issues

    Understanding how to improve ethical behaviour in the workplace begins with identifying ethical issues currently present in your organisation. Conduct a thorough review of your workplace culture, policies, and practices to identify areas where ethical behaviour is not being upheld.

    In order to conduct a thorough review of your workplace, you can start by examining your organisation’s values and mission statement. These should align with the ethical principles that you want to uphold in your workplace. You can also look at how decisions are made and how conflicts are resolved to ensure that these processes are fair and unbiased.

  2. Develop clear ethical standards

    Once ethical issues have been identified, it is important to develop clear ethical standards that reflect the values and mission of your organisation. Communicate these standards to employees and ensure that they understand them – specifically how they relate to their everyday tasks and responsibilities. Standards should ideally be clear, concise and practical.

  3. Provide professional ethics training

    Professional ethics training can help employees understand the importance of ethical behaviour and the consequences of unethical behaviour. This training should be provided regularly to ensure that both new and existing employees are aware of the ethical standards and values of your organisation.

    If you’re looking to provide your employees with professional ethics skill training, DeakinCo. can help. Our training programs are designed to help individuals and organisations develop the skills and knowledge needed to navigate ethical challenges in the workplace.

  4. Establish reporting mechanisms

    It is important to establish reporting mechanisms so that employees can report unethical behaviour without fear of retaliation. This may include anonymous reporting mechanisms and a process for investigating and addressing reported incidents. Regularly reminding employees of these reporting mechanisms will also help to ensure that they are properly maintained.

  5. Enforce professional ethics policies

    Enforcing professional ethics policies is critical to promoting an ethical workplace. This can include disciplinary action for employees who engage in unethical behaviour enforcing consequences for any violation of the established ethical standards. It is important for all employees to understand that there are consequences for engaging in unethical behaviour and that they will be held accountable for their actions.

  6. Lead by example

    Regardless of the type of leadership style, it is critical that an organisation’s leaders understand the value of strong workplace ethics. Essentially, leaders in your organisation should lead by example when it comes to upholding ethical standards by both demonstrating ethical behaviour in their own actions and holding themselves accountable for any ethical lapses. Leading by example will send a strong message to employees and clients alike that the organisation’s values are a lived reality rather than empty words on paper.

  7. Recognise ethical behaviour

    Finally, it is important to recognise and reward ethical workplace behaviour. This can include acknowledging employees who exhibit ethical behaviour, and incorporating ethical behaviour into performance evaluations and promotion decisions. By recognising the value of strong workplace ethics and rewarding those who abide by your organisation’s ethical standards, you can create a workplace culture that prioritises and values moral behaviour.

Key points

Implementing professional ethics in the workplace is essential for creating a positive and healthy work culture. It can lead to increased trust, better decision-making, and higher employee morale. However, it is important to regularly assess workplace ethics to ensure that ethical standards are being met. By identifying ethical issues and developing clear ethical standards that employees can support, you can improve professional ethics in the workplace and create a culture of integrity and respect.

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