Identifying and measuring the ethical standards and personal integrity of others is difficult. Philosophers disagree about what constitutes ethical standards, and there is more than one framework in which to approach the concept of ethics. For example, the ethical behavior of those who believe in fairness to all may seem in stark contrast to that of people who believe in the common good. In the end, an employer must decide what behavior she deems ethical in her business before she can begin to evaluate her employees.
Meet individually with employees on a regular basis -- perhaps once every few months or a couple of times per year. Personal interviews are a useful tool in assessing attributes, such as communication skills, problems solving skills, ability to work with others and character. Research by Norwood and Briggeman indicates that an employer may get a good sense of an employee’s work ethics, skills and personality traits by meeting with him to discuss and evaluate work in a relaxed atmosphere.
Evaluate employees’ demonstrated work ethics against a checklist. Bradley University uses a well-thought-out Employee Performance Appraisal that includes sections entitled “Judgment,” “Integrity” and “Attendance, Availability and Dependability.” It is easier to evaluate and measure concepts, such as integrity, in others when those concepts are broken down into individual traits, such as sensitivity to confidentiality and compliance with procedural standards of conduct.
Monitor attendance and work productivity. Showing up and working agreed-upon hours is a sign of integrity and ethical behavior; arriving late and leaving early on a regular basis shows a lack of ethics. Many factors may result in mediocre work. Sometimes an employee needs help or additional training; in other instances, the employee is lazy or does not care. Schedule special meetings with an employee whose work is sub-par to ascertain whether he wants to do a good job. Employees with integrity and good work ethics are more likely show improvement in their work.
Samantha Hanly is an organic vegetable gardener, greenhouse gardener and home canner. She grows a substantial portion of her family's food every year. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Hanly embarked on a career teaching dramatic arts, arts and crafts, and languages. She became a professional writer in 2000, writing curricula for use in classrooms and libraries.