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Why Ethics Matters

Personal benefits of acting ethically

Ethics is something that is often ingrained so much that people don’t even think about whether the things they do are ethical or not. But ethics is vitally important, especially in business. It helps to ensure integrity and fairness in the workplace, and provides a framework for how employees treat those both inside and outside the organization.

Treating your coworkers ethically means supporting them whenever possible. They need to know that you’re behind them — and not because you’re trying to hide something.

You can also support your colleagues by providing constructive criticism. The key is to keep it constructive, because being harsh or unkind could undermine them. Keep your criticism relevant to their work and don’t make personal comments or use your feedback to make your coworkers feel bad.

It’s fine to help yourself and be focused on your own interests and progress at work. But don’t use or manipulate other people to achieve your goals.

As well as using ethics to guide your dealings with coworkers, you should apply the same consideration to your organization. You expect your company to fulfill its obligations to you, so make sure you’re keeping up your end of the bargain. Being an ethical employee means giving an honest day’s work for your pay and carrying out the tasks that you’ve been assigned.

In addition, you should respect company property and resources, treating them with the same care as you would your own property. Don’t use company resources for personal purposes.

Also, be mindful of your company’s right to privacy. Protect company security and don’t share trade secrets outside the organization.

The way you treat those outside the organization should be the same way you treat contacts inside your organization. Customers have the right to expect fairness in doing business with you. Don’t deceive them for your own gain, or for your company’s. Speak to them with respect.

Make sure you treat your suppliers as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. Don’t cheat them or lie to them.

The overall benefit of behaving ethically is knowing it’s the right thing to do. But there are other potential benefits that are equally valuable and satisfying. These include feeling good, getting respect, and getting support.