Business ethics is a critical component that helps an organization achieve success. Most organizations expect employees to follow a code of ethics, which are sometimes simply referred to as "rules." This code encompasses various standards of integrity with respect to relationships with customers, other employees and others associated with the organization. Following ethical practices can earn trust for the organization that translates into long-term benefits.
Importance of Business Ethics
Following ethical business practices is valuable for long-term gains and success. Corporate executives should never consider adhering to ethics as a hindrance to success. An unethical course of action may give you short-term benefits such as cost or time savings, but the benefit will not sustain you and you will end up wasting time and money to fix the problem. The importance of following business ethics must come from top management. Shady business dealings do not foster a positive environment for growth in the organization.
Trustworthiness and Honesty
Trustworthiness is a key element of business ethics because the client must have deep trust in your company. This goes beyond the organization’s ability to do quality and timely work and deliver it on time. It also refers to the client’s trust that as an organization you are truthful, fair and follow honorable business practices. Honesty refers to making honest commitments to clients. Always commit to what you can achieve and the timeline required. Do not make empty promises to a client.
You have considerable details about your clients’ businesses because you work together on various projects. It is imperative to maintain the confidentiality of these details. The team members must adhere to strict, written internal confidentiality policies. The confidentiality clause should be part of their employment terms. Where possible, confidentiality should be ensured through password protection and SSL encryption.
Technology has made business simple in many ways with the Internet as the ultimate resource for information. While using technology to its optimum, make technical integrity a part of the organization’s ethics. The organization should not infringe on copyright law—adopt complete integrity in software and hardware usage.
Creating an Open Environment
A key element of any business ethics program is to create an environment where an employee can come forward to report any wrongdoing or non-adherence to ethics without fear of retaliation. An organization should foster an open environment to encourage employees to report wrongdoing. It is also the organization's responsibility to protect employees from retaliatory attacks.