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

Throughout this lesson, employees will learn how to evaluate their communication to gauge whether they’re engaging in gossip, and they'll become familiar with helpful tips for shutting down rumors appropriately. This lesson also highlights actions leaders can take to minimize gossip in the workplace.

Ethical Decision-Making Skills: Ethical Issues and Problems

This course explores the various problems, dilemmas, moral questions, and practical solutions to solve ethical conflicts in any situation or context.

Code of Conduct: Conflicts of Interest and Gifts

In this lesson, learners will first learn about how conflicts of interest can manifest at work and how best to respond to them. Then, learners gain an understanding of fine line between a gift and a bribe, and how to tell the difference between the two.
These are just a few examples from our online employee training library - click the button to explore more business skills videos from The BizLibrary Collection! BROWSE LIBRARY

The Importance of a Code of Ethics

It’s important to have policies and practices in place regarding workplace ethics. The code of ethics should consider specific occurrences in the company’s field while also addressing social responsibility. It should serve as a guide for workers without laying out every example that could happen, and should cover the punishment that goes with those violations.

Make sure there is a person in charge, usually a compliance officer. This person updates the code as laws or rules change and they make sure that people are being held accountable. They would also be the person an employee would report any violations to. This would be done anonymously to protect the reporter.

How Online Ethics Training Can Help

Online training is quickly becoming the best way to teach employees some of the skills they need to do their jobs. Numerous studies have shown that online training is often more effective, and learners retain more information than with classroom training alone.

BizLibrary curates a large and diverse video training library with numerous courses focused on ethics issues. Our micro video format breaks content up into smaller, more manageable chunks, making it easier for employees to learn and apply these ethics practices to everyday interactions.

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QS/1 has had a long-standing commitment to providing cost-free, job-relevant training to its employees. As they work in the healthcare industry, they are handling secure information every day and must adhere to many laws and guidelines.

For auditing purposes, QS/1 needed access to content that was updated with changing laws, a simple system to track completion, and intuitive reporting to show compliance – and they found all of that through BizLibrary’s online learning solutions.

After utilizing our compliance content for five years, QS/1 decided to broaden their training efforts beyond compliance training and utilize the entire BizLibrary Collection. By making thousands more training videos available to employees on topics like ethics, Microsoft programs, and soft skills, they started seeing results immediately.

By partnering with BizLibrary and utilizing all the resources at their disposal, QS/1 has helped transform their culture to one that covers their required compliance and ethical trainings, while giving employees access to continually improve their technical and soft skills.

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