Ethics in Service Industries – Five Things You Should Know

Depending on which industry segment your business calls home, there will be certain ethics risks and concerns to consider that might not affect other industries. If you’re in a service-based business, whereby your revenue is generated as a service, for example, these are the ethics considerations you’ll need to know to remain compliant and effective with your strategies. Here’s what service-based business leaders like you should know about ethics and risks.

1. False Advertising

One area of potential risk for ethics violations that extends across all industry segments is false advertising. Products and services alike are required to abide by certain advertising guidelines intended to govern claims about results and processes. And it doesn’t just apply to marketing or advertising campaigns either. Sales teams, public-facing staff, and marketers can inadvertently or intentionally make false claims in conversation or with clients that could result in violations, as well.

2. Sexual Harassment

Regardless of your business sector, wherever people are present together in any working environment, there are potential risks for sexual harassment. Service industry businesses, online or brick-and-mortar, all employ employees who may be assigned to work together or collaborate as part of the job. Training, coaching, and managing how they perform together and keeping unwanted harassment out of the workplace requires a robust ethics policy and strategy.

3. Data Breaches or Mismanagement

Whenever data is collected about employees, customers, sales prospects, or company progress, there is also the potential for a data breach or misuse of information. These violations extend across all industries, including those within the service sector. So, how you collect, store, and manage data needs to have oversight and guidelines outlined with an ethics policy.

4. Fraud Can Happen Anywhere

Anytime you exchange money or manage finances associated with your service-based business, there presents an opportunity for mismanagement, theft, and fraud. You’ll vet employees thoroughly before granting money-related privileges. But mistakes do happen, unintentional and otherwise, that could put your company at risk. Having a detailed layer of ethics policies in place and outlining rules for money management is paramount to protecting your brand and your bottom line.

5. Ethics Hotlines Can Protect Your Business

Service industry businesses may not have to contend with some of the ethics risks that other segments do. However, there are ethics pitfalls you should prepare for, and the ethics hotline may just be the best solution. When you implement an ethics hotline, you essentially deputize employees, vendors, and customers to call out risks or violations when they see them. And the anonymous reporting capabilities associated with an ethics hotline means no one fears retribution or retaliation for whistleblowing or calling attention to bad behavior.

As a business leader in the service industry, you know it’s generally a good policy to hope for the best but always take steps to prepare for the worst. Consider these potential ethics risks and the ethics hotline as your front-line resource to protect your company. Let Ethical Advocate be your guide in all your ethics training, policy development, and hotline guide! Contact our team today and lay in the protections your service business needs to succeed in today’s market and beyond.