As competition in business grows exceedingly great it seems that ethical behavior in the workplace has been in a free fall. Everyone is scrambling for that little advantage that will catapult them into the lead and it comes with a big price tag! That advantage you called little may cost someone else everything!
So, is exaggerating on your resume ethical? Is taking credit for something you didn’t do alright? Is fudging the financial picture ethical or even legal? Is targeting an employee you don’t like because of their beliefs fair? Is covering up a problem on a new piece of equipment your company just released ethical? Is adding something to your expense report that wasn’t business related something you will be proud of later? Is taking home company supplies the right thing to do?
These are just a small sample of the many types of behaviors that go on everyday in the workplace that should make us question ourselves about ethical behavior in the workplace today. It is costing businesses thousands of dollars for what some would call insignificant issues such as extended lunches and breaks, fudged expense reports, unnecessary overtime, horseplay, negligent behavior, personal telephone calls, using the photocopier for personal business, doing personal business on company time, sampling products, and so on. These so-called little things add up to very large expenses for a business when you add it all up.
Now when it comes to the more obvious unethical behavior such as blatantly misleading clients or customers about the facts of whatever it is that is being considered. Perhaps the customer asks a question about something like warranty information that missing in the contract that could cost the client or customer a lot of money if something goes wrong. Then when it does go wrong and the client or customer comes in the unethical salesperson tells them sorry that isn’t covered. When the customer or client complains they tell them they should have read the contract better. Then everyone wonders why people demand to have things in writing.
Ethical behavior in the workplace starts with you! If you begin to set the example by making sure you adhere to all the rules set by your company and not waiver it will begin to become contagious. No it will not happen overnight or even in the first few months. But if you continue to act ethically it will become the norm. However, do not get up on your high horse and prance around claiming to be Mr. or Mrs. Doright! This will go against what you are trying to accomplish. Neither should you report any and all wrong doing. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be a good steward of the company though. You know the difference between a tattletale and doing the right thing!
Good luck and remember that what you do does matter in life whether it is at work or at home. People are watching and those people are learning from you especially when it comes to ethical behavior in the workplace.
Thank you and May God bless you!