Creating good ethics management is necessary for ensuring everyone follows the same set of ethical standards. While people should stay true to their own morals and ethics, having a system in place keeps everyone on the same page.
When creating this system, there are certain fundamentals that serve as the foundation for the entire system. While much of it has to do with simply respecting others, employees and management could always use a reminder now and then.
Respecting All Others
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you’re the only person that matters in a business. This is especially true of owners and upper management. However, without every employee and customer, the business wouldn’t exist. The ethical thing to do is to respect all others in the organization. Treating them as less than another or refusing to see their worth simply because of their position in the business is unethical. Mutual respect should be an ethical staple from the top to the bottom of a business’s structure.
Making Decisions Objectively
While it’s difficult sometimes, you must make all decisions objectively. It’s your job to do not just what’s best for the business, but best for those involved. You can’t let your own emotions or biases cloud your judgment. If you can’t make a decision objectively, an ethics management system should require you to bring in an unbiased third party to help. It’s always better to make the right decision than a spur of the moment choice based on emotion.
Provide Transparency In Decisions
An easy way to alienate employees and even management is to simply provide final decisions without any reasoning as to why those choices were made. When people work hard, they want a reason why they’re suddenly being laid off or moved to another department. Even a choice as seemingly positive as being place on a special team deserves a little bit of an explanation. Not only is it ethical to be transparent in decision making, but it creates a stronger team environment as employees feel they’re valued as part of the organization. Of course, this also ensures people see decisions aren’t made based on personal feelings and biases.
Keep Communication Channels Open
One key fundamental of an ethics management system is clear and open communication. This goes partly back to respect, but also in communication decisions, making all employees feel valued and making employees feel safe reporting ethics issues.
Provide clear guidelines on all ethics standards and practices, train all staff regularly and ensure employees know how to report unethical behavior. Assign various staff as points of contact so employees aren’t limited to just their immediate supervisor or HR as either one could be the source of the problem.
Establishing An Ethics Management System
Establishing a code of ethics and an ethics management system does take work, but it will improve the entire business culture and lead to happier customers. The Complete Guide to Ethics Management: An Ethics Toolkit for Managers is a great free resource for better understanding how to implement ethics programs and common myths about business ethics.