Business ethics are a set of moral principles that businesses use to determine what is appropriate or inappropriate in the workplace. Every employee at any level must follow the designated business ethics to ensure that every member of staff feels they are equal and treated. Individuals can also have their own set of business ethics to follow to remain professional in the workplace.
Why are business ethics important?
According to Investopedia, the importance of business ethics reaches far beyond employee loyalty and morale or the strength of a management team bond. As with all business initiatives, the ethical operation of a company is directly related to profitability in both the short and long term.
The reputation of a business in the surrounding community, among other companies, and for individual investors is paramount in determining whether a company is a worthwhile investment. If a company is perceived to operate unethically, investors are less inclined to buy stock or otherwise support its operations.
Companies have more and more of an incentive to be ethical in social responsibility, and ethical investing keeps growing.
Types of business ethics
According to Indeed, there are several main fundamental principles in business ethics.
Caring. Although your personal life and work-life should often remain separate, businesses must realize their employees, investors, and consumers are human beings. Employees are happier when their employers care about their well-being and take steps to foster positive work environments. Business ethics are just one of the many ways you can show your employees you have their best interest at heart.
Respect. There is a longstanding belief that we must respect our elders or superiors, but business ethics dictates respect for everyone. Businesses should emphasize respect for their employees and customers by using proper communication, listening to differing opinions, and thinking before speaking to avoid an argument.
Trustworthiness. Many businesses trust employees to handle sensitive information, deal with finances, or work directly with customers. Employees should thus ensure they act in a trustworthy manner to do their job effectively.
Integrity. Integrity may seem like a personal ethic, but every employee should work with integrity. This means trying to do the right thing in every situation by working in a way that will benefit every employee and the business, not just yourself.
Loyalty. Remaining loyal to your company or staff is important in ensuring the business maintains a positive reputation. This could include not posting negative comments about the company, not working with the business’ competitors, or not gossiping about other employees.
Fairness. Equality in the workplace is essential as everyone deserves fair treatment. Although different employees may have other rankings or backgrounds, businesses must ensure every employee, investor, and the consumer feels welcome and equal.