Ethics Policies for Your Business: Do’s and Don’ts

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Business ethics policies play a major role in highlighting favorable employee conduct. A company with elevated ethical standards improves the public’s trust and the likelihood of consumers to buy products from them. Ethical practices link to legally complying with regulations while ensuring the company can still get a competitive advantage in their market. Learn more about the basics of business ethics policies, the types of ethical challenges in business and frequently asked questions 


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The basics of business ethics policies

Business ethics correlate with the implementation of policies related to areas like social and fiduciary responsibilities. Ethics are also included when you write official policies that demonstrate how an employee should behave in the workplace. A few other reasons your company should have an ethics policy include: 


    • It serves as a guide for interacting with coworkers and customers. Ethics policies can help employees determine the best approach to speaking with coworkers, along with potential and current customers to build long-term relationships with them. The purpose of expanding on these types of details is to build trust between the employees and everyone they work with. Employees can feel more inclined to be ethical if they feel satisfied with the behavior of their coworkers. 


    • It demonstrates the company’s culture, You can outline your company’s ethics policy to interested applicants, so they know the way employees behave daily. The company’s culture can be a deciding factor if an applicant has multiple offers from various employers. Therefore, you should communicate this information before you begin asking questions about an applicant’s work experience, so you can ensure that you’re being transparent with them. 


  • It can give a company a good reputation. If a company performs well in its industry, it is attributed to the code of conduct outlined in the ethics policy. A company wants to buy products from a reputable organization, so employees from all levels of the company must adhere to the guidelines you wrote in the policy to consistently maintain its image. This result can lead to receiving national or global recognition for the service your company provides. 

Read more: How to Find Good Employees


Types of ethical challenges in business

Even with a well-written ethics policy, a company and its employees still face ethical challenges. These challenges indicate the trajectory of the organization. Take a look at the types of ethical challenges that you should be aware of: 


  • Accounting 
  • Social Media 
  • Harassment and Discrimination
  • Health and Safety
  • Technology and Privacy

1. Accounting 

Generally, a company engages in two types of accounting: financial and managerial. Financial accounting is the reporting of the organization’s financial data during the fiscal year to present to the public. Managerial accounting is the measurement, analysis and presentation of a company’s financial performance to see if they meet its financial goals for the fiscal year. 


A company can be highly regarded for displaying its financial performance to the public. Some companies must do so to comply with regulations from the federal government. You should encourage financial accounting as a part of the ethics policy, so all stakeholders know about the company’s financial performance. 


2. Social Media 

Social media documents any action taken by an employee that’s posted on a social media account. An employee’s content can affect the perception of the company they work for because they’re viewed as a representative of the organization. 


Some employees state that they publish their opinions on their social media accounts to make the distinction between them and the company. You should clearly outline best practices for how employees should communicate on social media, explain how their actions affect the company and what type of conduct is prohibited. 


3. Harassment and Discrimination

Harassment and discrimination exist in multiple forms, including, age, race, sex, religion and national origin.  Your ethics policy should underline how you address discrimination if an employee reports an incident in the workplace. Additionally, you’ll need to list the company’s compliance with discrimination laws and highlight related policies like compensation and time-off to ensure all employees receive equal treatment. 


4. Health and Safety

The health and safety of employees affect their level of performance and their relationship with employers. You can describe the working conditions within a job description, but ethics policies detail how you should use specific equipment to perform a job effectively such as guidelines for machine guarding, electrical equipment, usage of ladders, potential hazards and methods to reduce risks of falls and other emergencies. 


5. Technology and Privacy

The rise of technology changes the way employees interact and perform in the workplace. It’s changed the way companies review employee activity and their production. With companies relying on technological advances, you must record procedures for tracking an employees’ performance and monitoring capabilities. Employees need to be comfortable with monitoring practices that you implement, so try to get a consensus from employees on monitoring procedures before they become official policy. 


Ethics policy FAQs

Check out the list of frequently asked questions related to ethics policies: 


How can an employer improve its ethics policies? 

First, Implement an open-door policy to establish protocols on how to report policy violations. Having a communication channel increases an employee’s understanding of whom to speak to. Next, create a mentoring program to ensure the proper treatment of all staff members. This method assists employees in knowing what their role is with the company and what tasks they’re supposed to be working on. 


Is hiring more human resources employees helpful in improving business ethics?

Hiring more human resources employees is the beginning of enhancing business ethics. You must review a candidate’s previous experience to see if they’re successful in bolstering employee engagement. Look for the results related to increasing employee productivity and ask what their plan is to repeat those results when working for your company. The right applicant knows the right ways to give feedback to employees working for a company and promote involvement within their community.


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