Workplace Ethics

Workplace ethics are a dynamic set of values that vary with people and their definition of a workplace. For some, it is a physical office they go to every day, while others, their home office.

It doesn’t matter whether you work from home or commute to work everyday, workplace ethic is required to build a successful career. Organizations are known to embrace ethical practices and behaviors to increase productivity and uphold integrity—while setting a penalty for workers who default workplace ethics.

Following a predefined workplace ethic is a little harder for freelancers and business owners because there is usually no disciplinary committee to punish them for defaulting. It is however evident that for them to not lose clients, they need to imbibe workplace ethics into themselves.

What is Workplace Ethics?

Workplace ethics are the set of values, moral principles, and standards that need to be followed by both employers and employees in the workplace. It is the set of rules and regulations that need to be followed by all staff of the workplace.

These ethics are implemented by employers to foster both employee-employee relationship and employee-customer relationships. An organization may decide to put these ethics into writing or not—they are however meant to be followed. 

There exist some general workplace ethics that do not need to be defined by the employer, but are common ethical behaviors employees need to exhibit. In the same vein, some organization-specific ethics may need to be defined in a company handbook.


Examples of Ethical Behaviors in The Workplace 

Examples of ethical behaviors in the workplace includes; obeying the company’s rules, effective communication, taking responsibility, accountability, professionalism, trust and mutual respect for your colleagues at work. These examples of ethical behaviors ensures maximum productivity output at work. And could be pivotal for career growth.

  • Obey The Company’s Rules & Regulation

 At the start of an employee contract, companies may need the employee to sign various documents, including the company rules and regulation agreement form. Also, the employee may be given a handbook that may serve as a guide.

Some common rules are tardiness, inappropriate dressing, and language, etc. Due to the excitement of getting a new job, some employees do not properly read these rules and may end up deferring them in the future.

Therefore, it is important that new employees properly read these rules & regulations in other not to defer them.

  • Communicate Effectively

Effective communication is very important to avoid misunderstandings when dealing with issues in the workplace. Communicating effectively may mean different things to people at different points in time.

Let us consider the hypothetical situation of an employee trying to relay information to a French-speaking customer. The best way to communicate effectively with the customer is to have an employee who can speak French relay the information. 

Effective communication may also have an employee breaking one of the rules and regulations of the company without getting penalized for it. An employee reaching out to HR that they will be coming in late due to some unforeseen circumstances may be spared for coming late if the situation is properly communicated. 

  • Develop Professional Relationships

Good professional relationships are not only a thing that fosters teamwork among employees, but also help with individual career development for employees. Developing professional relationships with coworkers or other professionals outside the workplace will also directly or indirectly improve productivity. 

Professional relationships between low-level and high-level employees will make it easier for ideas to be shared and knowledge to be passed to junior employees. That way, the company can confidently have an intern work on a tough project to meet a pending deadline due to the guidance from older employees.

Salespeople, for one, need to build external professional relationships with professionals from other organizations—especially those who are potential clients. These relationships will help create a contact person in another organization in case they need to sell a product to them.

  • Take Responsibility

 It is important for employees to always take responsibility for decisions made both individually and in a team. This is, in fact, a leadership trait that every employee who is looking to take up a managerial position in the future should exhibit.

Understandably, employees may want to save their job and are therefore scared of taking responsibility for a particular event. However, they shouldn’t let this fear take them.out of the team.

For example, the communications team came up with a marketing strategy for the company and it failed. The team members are to jointly take responsibility for this failure, not individuals coming out that they weren’t part of the decision making process.

If the strategy has gone the other way round, they wouldn’t have said the same.

  • Professionalism/Standards

There are professional standards that everything an employee does in the workplace. The use of informal words in a formal workplace is highly unprofessional. 

These standards should be held high and applied to every part of an employee’s activity in the workplace. This should include the way they speak, kind of work they deliver and their relationship with coworkers and customers.

  • Be Accountable

 Accountability is also a very good trait of an employee. One of the things that may short change a talented and responsible is the lack of accountability. 

Lack of accountability may result in your boss thinking you have an “I don’t care attitude” to the company’s project or worst take you as a liar and may lead to job loss in the long run. For example, at the beginning of each year, a certain amount of money is allocated to each department.

The manager is meant to oversee how this money is spent. If at the end of the year, the manager can not make an account of how the money was spent, he may then be suspected of stealing company funds.

  • Uphold Trust

An employee should not do anything that may make his or her employee withdraw trust. As an employee of a company, your employee trusts you to get work done perfectly on time.

Things like missing deadlines regularly or delivering work that needs to be revised over and over again will deny you a promotion. It may even leave the employer not giving you tasks to complete in the future—a nightmare for freelancers.

  • Show Initiative without being told

Is the company running behind deadline and you feel you can stay a few extra hours after work to finish up? Do it.

You are a freelance designer and your client wants a particular poster designed but doesn’t have a copywriter to write the content. If you can write the contents, do so. Don’t delay a client’s work because of a few contents.

  • Respect Your Colleagues

It doesn’t matter whether you are dealing with the intern, a junior, janitor, etc. they should all be treated with respect. As a manager, treating your team members with respect will help improve their productivity.

Giving constructive criticism and saying kind words to them even when they are not able to deliver perfectly will help them strive to do better in the future.

  • Work Smarter

 Don’t just work hard, work smarter. The reason why you see an employee promoted to the post of manager after just 2 years and a hardworking employee who has been with the company for 10 years failed to get a promotion is smart work.

Assume that these 2 employees are data scientists who collect data and analyze them. A smarter employee will use the Formplus data collection tool to collect data and receive real-time data analytics, while a hard-working employee will print paper-based forms and do the hard work of sharing it to respondents.


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