Whether an executive embezzles money from the business or an employee falsifies documents, unethical behaviors can cause havoc in the workplace.
Uncooperative practices can harm a company’s reputation, which could lead to clientele decline and, ultimately, bankruptcy.
To stop unethical behavior, however, company owners and their executive management must engage with their workforce.
Unethical Behavior at Work Explained
Behavior that violates a person’s, a company’s, or an organization’s morals or norms is referred to as unethical.
It is also defined as any action that is intended to take advantage of someone without their knowledge or agreement.
Manipulating someone without that person’s consent is another definition of it. It is the action that, in a certain circumstance, is “wrong” or “bad.”
Unethical behavior includes using crude language and committing violence toward people.
Since morality differs from person to person and from industry to industry, the standards for ethics can also vary, making the objective of ethical conduct challenging to reach easily.
Companies should be aware that if unethical behavior is left unchecked, the corporate culture can worsen and cause serious disruptions, including insider fraud, reputational damage, legal problems, and financial penalties from regulatory authorities.
Causes of unethical behavior in the workplace
The culture of your firm has a significant impact on your employees’ ethical behavior.
Employee empowerment, a joyful workplace, and team collaboration all result from a positive business culture that supports ethical, responsible behavior.
On the other side, unfavorable corporate cultures can incentivize unethical activity, leading to a number of issues.
According to the Ethics & Compliance Initiative 2020 report’s findings, work pressure is correlated with increased incidence rates of wrongdoing.” The typical causes are:
Insufficient moral leadership
When bosses act unethically, staff members will follow suit. The unethical culture will eventually hurt the business.
For example, if leaders grab credit for subordinates’ work, some workers will begin to replicate the practice.
Honest workers will start concealing their labor from their coworkers and managers as a kind of self-defense.
As a result, the company’s potential will be limited due to a lack of teamwork and collaboration.
Extremely competitive coworkers
Employees can cross ethical lines to advance if a company’s culture promotes those who seek personal gain rather than those who focus on improving the team’s overall performance.
Consider a leader that rewards high performers without examining how they got their results.
Some employees might grow unethically by taking ideas from other people, for example. Once a few dishonest individuals succeed in this manner, the rest of the staff will soon realize that stealing other people’s ideas is a successful way to advance in your firm.
High Work Pressure
Work deadlines, performance targets, technology issues, and expectations from other company departments all contribute to stress among managers and employees.
Employees often feel pressure to break the law to complete their work and fulfill their employer’s demands due to upheaval and office pressures.
Lax Culture and Bad Discipline
behavior can occur easily in a company with a loose corporate culture. Unethical workers will trample on ethical workers if your business doesn’t take swift action to discipline or dismiss them.
As a business owner, it is your duty to uphold order in your workplace by penalizing employees who act unprofessionally and rewarding morally upright employees.
Lack of Conversation
Corporate cultures that overlook open discussion allow unethical conduct to flourish. Instead, the company should encourage staff to report misconduct before it spreads widely.
Offering whistleblowers protection and encouraging staff to report issues to help foster a fair company from top to bottom.
Employees lose faith in the company when management hears any of the exploitative practices mentioned above and fails to take action.
Employees don’t speak up for fear of being called a snitch, which has consequences, including poor performance. This may ultimately result in a multibillion-dollar issue.
How To Limit Unethical Behavior in the Workplace?
Even while unethical activity isn’t always against the law, it can damage a professional image. Be upfront about the consequences and if unethical behaviors become a frequent matter.
Arrange a workshop to go over what unethical behavior looks like. Let everyone know that these actions must end for the company’s sake and to be fair to coworkers.
Here are some important measures to take-
Make a Code of Conduct
A documented code of conduct informs employees and managers of the kind of behavior and actions that the company expects.
It describes what actions will not be tolerated as well as what will happen to an employee who disobeys the code of conduct.
Set a Good Example
Employees look to owners and leaders for guidance on how to conduct themselves. As a business owner, make ethical decisions and ensure that the people you hire for leadership positions share your values.
If you witness a manager breaking corporate rules, such as a policy banning workplace romances, act promptly to preserve your integrity with other coworkers.
Reinforce the penalties for unethical behavior
When their employees act unethically, company owners must hold them accountable. Explain the regulations to new hires during orientation meetings as a starting point.
Ensure that all brand-new employees are aware of the repercussions of breaking the rules.
If an employee conducts unethically, refer to the standards of ethics and deal with them accordingly, such as warning or terminating them.
Express your gratitude to the staff
Employees that are loyal to a company believe that it values the effort they put out to complete duties on a regular basis.
An obedient worker is less likely to do something immoral. Regularly express gratitude to employees to promote resilience.
If you want to promote excellence in the sales division, implement a bonus scheme or give top workers an extra day off each quarter or year.
Welcome a Speaker on Ethics
Invite an ethics trainer to your workplace, so they can talk about ethical behavior and explain why it is crucial in all firms, regardless of size or sector.
Role-playing, motivational speeches, videos, and brochures are all techniques used by ethics trainers to highlight the value of ethics in the workplace.
When recruiting employees, many business owners look for people with the credentials—their degrees and work histories—that demonstrate they are competent employees who handle the jobs at hand.
To make sure that candidates’ principles align with the company’s culture and help prevent unethical practices, employers should arrange a consensual background screening of each potential hire.
Create a check-and-balances protocol
Create a structure of checks and balances rather than giving all associated duties to a single person to minimize the risk of immoral practices.
For instance, a salesperson rings up consumer purchases while an accountant balances the books to make sure that all payables are received and recorded.
Use a yearly audit to ensure that existing procedures are followed and to build new rules to deal with any unusual issues that arise during the year.
Spend money on technological solutions
Leverage technology to replace manual processes that can lead to mistreatment and fraud. Automated solutions increase efficiency by ensuring that training courses, conflicts of interest, and third parties are all carried out systematically throughout the organization.
Technology adoption results in increased project success and performance. Consider installing CCTV in your workplace as well so that you can monitor employee behavior and keep an eye on the workers around the clock.
Importance of Fostering Ethical Work Culture
Appropriate behavior is one that adheres to ethics. It is founded on moral principles. Ethical behavior is the correct way to act. It involves picking the good and fair. When someone is acting morally, they are at their best. They adhere to morally upright principles in all of their deeds and speech.
Those with good ethical behavior are pleasant to be around. The conduct is morally deemed to be “good” or “right” in a certain circumstance. The term “ethical behavior” refers to behavior that is above reproach and in compliance with the established standards of a community, organization, or institution.
This is the behavior that companies expect their employees to reflect while on the job. It is important to outline a code of conduct policy that specifies proper conduct at work.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of behavior is unethical in the workplace?
This can include employees performing personal errands during working hours, late arriving, taking longer or more frequent breaks, or falsifying time sheets.
Other employees may soon pick up these negative behaviors.
How can unethical conduct harm the organization?
A lack of ethics negatively impacts employee performance. Sometimes workers are so focused on moving up and making money that they violate rules and protocols.
This can result in additional documentation and thoughtless errors, requiring the task to be redone. It also affects the company image, client service, sales operation, and corporate workforce.
How would you describe ethical codes?
Ans. Honesty, fairness, and equity in interpersonal and professional pursuits are characteristics of ethical behavior. Moral behavior respects individuals’ and groups’ rights, uniqueness, and dignity.
What are some examples of ethical workplace behavior?
Ans. Following corporate policies, communicating effectively, accepting responsibility, being accountable, being professional, and having faith in and respect for your coworkers at work are all examples of ethical workplace behavior. These ethical behaviors ensure maximum output at work.
What impact does ethics have on how we act at work?
A company’s performance is improved, and overall morale is boosted by having employees who uphold ethically sound values such as honesty, integrity, and hard effort in the workplace.
A corporation with set behavioral policies can boost its reputation and contribute to its long-term success.
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