Unethical behavior is becoming a serious problem in the workplace. It can effect all facets of work life. Unethical behavior can harm sales, stock prices and even a company’s public perception. A recent study suggests that upwards of 80% of consumers say that their purchasing choices are dependent on how ethical a particular company’s practices are. Ethical workplace culture is also important, because the stain of a potential criminal inquiry, civil suit or scandal is hard to remove. Moreover, the problem is growing at an alarming rate. Instances of unethical behavior in the workplace have grown by 50% percent in the last ten years. Here are 5 ways to prevent unethical behavior in the workplace.
- Hiring the right employees can significantly reduce the chances of unethical behavior occurring in the workplace. This means more stringent background checks, screening processes and reference checks. If a business can reduce the number of employees with potentially shady or murky pasts, it can not only save them the embarrassment of a potential scandal, but can also save money and time too.
- Have regular checks and audits to make sure nothing unethical is going on right beneath a company’s nose. Whether this might be fraud, theft or a boss who is sexually harassing employees, having a checks and balances systems put in place will reduce the chances of unethical behavior. Doing a monthly or bi-monthly check with worker interviews and financial reviews of the books will not only make employees more weary, but will also put employees on the lookout for unethical behavior in their fellow coworkers.
- Teach management to be on the lookout and to implement more rigorous reviews of employees. One of the best ways to prevent unethical behavior is to make sure managers not only know what to look for, but that they can also implement policies into their practices to deal with employees who act unethically. In some businesses, employees might not know what they are doing is wrong, but with the right leadership by managers, hopefully employees can know what is and what isn’t against the rules.
- Make incentives for doing the right thing and implement more severe punishments for doing the wrong thing, or the illegal thing for that matter. A lot of businesses in certain industries actually incentivize unethical behavior, sometimes inadvertently, which has not only gotten the companies they work for in trouble, but also the economy. If you don’t want to risk an employee effecting the reputation of your business or leaving a large number of people wondering what is the meaning of life, businesses need to change their infrastructure and corporate policies to reward good behavior instead of bad.
- Lastly, to prevent unethical behavior a business needs to promote more open and transparent business practices. One of the biggest ways to encourage unethical behavior is if the business itself keeps a “hush hush” attitude about its practices. Leading by example is the number one way to prevent unethical behavior in the workplace.