The Benefits of Ethics Training Programs

When people hear “ethics training,” they’re probably less than excited to participate. But ethics are very important as they lead to established codes of conduct that affect compliance with regulations and laws. They also tie into moral codes of conduct that include honesty, compassion, and diversity.

Whether it’s teaching company values, building mutual tolerance and integrity, or even dealing with difficult customers, ethics training can help create a safe and fair workplace. Organizations that conduct business in an ethical manner have higher employee retention, more productive employees, and demonstrated customer loyalty.

Ethics training can protect the bottom line. Unethical behavior can have detrimental effects on profits when companies are fined for it. That can then lead to lower stock prices, a loss in customers, and the inability to do business because of a loss of trust.

On the plus side, ethics training can make any company a great place to work. Employees will develop the skills needed to:

  • Avoid any conflicts of interest
  • Maintain a positive and respectful environment
  • Protect the information of clients, company, and teammates
  • Follow laws and regulations specific to their industry and organization

Examples of Unethical Practices in the Workplace

Ethical dilemmas are faced by workers across the world. While some ethical dilemmas might seem less severe than others, all can affect the culture and success of an organization.

Lying and gossip may not seem like extreme ethical violations, but they can breed a toxic work environment. These actions cause trust to dwindle in the office, hinder productivity, cause a rise in conflict, and reduce engagement, motivation, and morale.

Verbal and physical harassment and violence are obvious things to prevent in the workplace. Employees should avoid using foul language with coworkers and clients, even if a client is angry with a product, service, or representative.

Misusing intellectual property or customers’ personal information, such as their name, birthday, and social security number is also a violation of ethics. Improperly sharing this sensitive information can hurt your company and customers alike.

Theft is another unethical act. This doesn’t just involve embezzling money or stealing office supplies but includes stealing time by scrolling through social media if it’s against company policy, or purposefully slowing down a project. On a more serious note, stealing intellectual property and confidential information and sharing it with others are also troublesome.

Accepting gifts or offering a bribe (when money or an incentive is given in order to influence decision-making) are also both situations that happen in business. Soliciting, accepting, offering, or giving a bribe is illegal. Even if it’s refused, the mere act of offering a bribe is a crime. If offered a gift, consider the cost, timing, and type of gift being offered as well as the connection between the giver and the receiver.

These practices may be accepted in some cultures, but businesses in the United States must abide by national laws and regulations.

International Ethical Considerations

When expanding internationally, business leaders have a lot to consider. They must look at the organization’s mission, vision, and strategies, but also any legal and ethical issues that could arise. Expansion into foreign markets means tackling serious moral and ethical challenges and decision-making in order to succeed.

There are new ethical challenges that arise when doing business internationally. Business leaders could encounter dilemmas such as:

  • Bribery and corruption
  • Outsourcing labor overseas
  • Different working standards and conditions
  • Political concerns both domestically and internationally
  • Human rights violations and child labor laws
  • Environmental concerns such as oil pipelines, rainforests, protected areas, etc.
While working globally, there is sure to be some culture shock and barriers. Every country has its own culture, traditions, and way it goes about doing business, including ethics.

  • Language barriers are sure to happen, so it is important to have translators available.
  • Gender can sometimes be an issue as certain countries address gender roles differently.
  • Religious holidays and cultural events can cause business or productivity to stall at certain times.

Preview Videos from The BizLibrary Collection

Ethics Toolkit: Gossip and Rumors