10 Business Ethics Examples to Implement in the Workplace
Part of what makes a business successful is its ability to use ethical practices that show respect for its staff, customers and members of the community. Using ethical standards in business can improve morale, create best practices for navigating challenging situations and cultivate loyal employees and consumers. Reviewing common principles in business ethics can help you understand the most important values for guiding business leadership and upholding ethical operations. In this article, we share a list of some of the top business ethics examples and share scenarios to illustrate each one.
10 business ethics examples for the workplace
Here are several business ethics examples that organisations can embody to build trust with their employees and customers:
Transparency involves accurately representing facts and communicating openly about an organisation's operations and strategic decisions. It's the foundation of a strong relationship with customers and professionals, which directly impacts the success and stability of a company. Being transparent develops trust in a company's service, product or mission. By providing full disclosure, company leaders can ensure their team has all the information to approach challenges and reassure their consumers about the steps they're taking to solve a problem.
For example, if a business had a data breach, they can demonstrate transparency by issuing a statement to their customers explaining what happened and how they're responding. If a customer does have an issue with their data, they can prepare instead of being surprised. This can build trust and respect for how the business handles challenges in its operations.
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Loyalty in business can apply to employees, consumers and business partners. Part of being an ethical company involves showing loyalty and commitment to the stakeholders who dedicate their time, energy and finances to the business. This includes rewarding longtime employees with promotions, providing fair prices to consumers and developing lasting business relationships with suppliers. Showing loyalty creates strong bonds, boosts morale and grows the reputation of the business as one that truly cares about its community.
For example, companies that value loyalty often hire internally for promotions and have a generous pay structure to reward the contributions of their team. They consider their target consumer's budget when pricing items and avoid raising prices just to make more profit. They also demonstrate loyalty to their consumers by giving frequent deals and discounts to longtime account-holders.
Companies that keep promises and fulfil commitments to their employees, business partners and customers display their commitment to business ethics. Trustworthiness is a monumental component to success in business because people typically like to work with and buy from dependable businesses. Businesses build trust by consistently meeting the same standards and showing that they take their values and ethics seriously.
Organisations can demonstrate trustworthiness to consumers by delivering orders on time, posting pictures that accurately represent their products and adhering to their company policies. Being trustworthy with co-workers involves following through on commitments and contributing equally as a team. Both aspects of trust are essential for developing a trustworthy reputation.
Successful companies strive to treat customers fairly and commit to giving everyone equal opportunities in the workplace. Fairness is a key aspect of business ethics because it ensures that qualified individuals can succeed at work and that all consumers have access to the goods and services they need. Equitable, ethical leaders only use honourable methods to gain an advantage over the competition and achieve their career goals. Fairness and equality can influence hiring practices, marketing initiatives, business partnerships and competing within the market for new consumers or clients.
One example of instituting fairness into a company's business practices is the use of 360 performance reviews, where individuals can provide feedback for their managers and others in their department. This ensures that every person on a team receives multiple perspectives on their work, removing the influence of one person's individual opinion on another's evaluation. Because everyone has the chance to contribute, this can lead to a more holistic performance review process.
Ethical companies demonstrate genuine kindness, understanding and care for the livelihood of others. In business, this means accomplishing business goals to produce the most goods while considering the potential impact of business operations. When company leaders make a business decision, careful consideration of the options and how each one may affect a person or community helps reduce the potential negative effects. Compassion is also an important ethical value on the individual level when considering how managers interact with team members and how professionals interact with customers.
For example, an organisation may demonstrate compassion for its employees by instituting a flexible working schedule that allows a wider range of acceptable working hours and telecommuting options. Some companies also provide employee assistance programs for their personnel to share personal support resources. These features in the workplace show empathy for the individual experiences of team members by treating their comfort as a priority.
6. Community engagement
Respecting and engaging with the local community is an important part of operating as an ethical business. Understanding that company operations can influence the community shows self-awareness and respect for the surrounding economy and environment. Community engagement through volunteering, donating and community partnership demonstrates proactive business ethics. Some companies also have focus groups and boards with community members who share their input before major business decisions, such as opening new locations.
Business ethics also include abiding by legal regulations and obligations regarding their business activities like taxes, worker safety and employment and labour laws. Complying with best practices and laws is important for protecting professionals and consumers and shows respect for the reason that the laws exist, such as improving community health or protecting the environment. Companies that work within the boundaries of the legal system demonstrate credibility and protect their operations from future investigation.
Examples of upholding ethical compliance can include regulating auditing company systems by reviewing financial documents, conducting safety inspections and assessing business governance practices. Many companies hire external auditors to ensure they have an unbiased third party to review their organisation. This creates an additional level of trust and ethical behaviour.
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8. Providing excellence
Ethical organisations strive to provide excellence by always working to deliver the greatest quality of service or products to their clients and customers. Part of being an ethical business is aiming to fulfil customer desires and solve their problems by offering quality customer service and sharing products that meet their expectations. Successful companies pursue creativity and innovation, looking for the best ways to deliver their goods and seeking to constantly improve their performance, customer satisfaction and employee morale.
For example, many companies have a satisfaction guarantee for their customers. To fulfil that ethical obligation, they conduct market research to learn about what they can improve and what features their customers want in the next line of products. This way, they encourage their team to innovate and become a top performer in their sector.
Companies with high ethical standards recognise their responsibilities to their professionals and customers and understand how the conduct of their leadership affects the business. Being responsible as an organisation involves thoroughly planning all operations, budgeting carefully, coordinating logistics and considering how business behaviours impact both employees and consumers. Businesses have a responsibility to lead with the values and mission of the organisation to make logical decisions that benefit everyone. Company leaders implement ethical standards and model them to others by displaying the same standards themselves.
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Being accountable in business means taking responsibility and ownership for the outcomes of company initiatives. Accountability is important because many people dedicate themselves to the success of a business, and they place their trust in business leaders to make good choices. Ethical business leaders accept accountability for all decisions they make in the company and admit their mistakes to anyone they affect through their choices, including shareholders, employees and the public. Along with taking accountability, they also accept any consequences that result from their actions.
For example, if a company leader makes a strategic decision that results in financial losses for the business, they can take accountability by accepting that their choice led to a decrease in profits. They can then explain their plan for adjusting the budget by decreasing their own salary or bonus for that year and making safer investments. This shows humility and accountability while also prioritising the rest of the company.
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