Ethical Business Examples: Why a Business Needs a Code of Ethics

2 min read
Mar 6, 2024 9:15:00 AM

Most human resource departments or businesses have specific guidelines that must be followed. These guidelines are typically provided to the employee when they are hired. This code of conduct, as it is sometimes called, also applies to other members of the organization, so that everyone knows what is expected of them at all times.

That same code of conduct should align with ethical business practices, and should ultimately become your business code of ethics.

Why a Business Needs a Code of Ethics

A business code of ethics can help set expectations in place. It can avoid any issue of worker and client boundaries, ensure ethical business practices, and ensure that boundaries are set in place to keep workers from doing things they shouldn't.

Once such a code has been established, any type of behavior that is contrary to those principles is quickly identified and remedied.

What Should a Business Code of Ethics Include?

The code of ethics for any organization must include a statement regarding fair and equitable treatment for all the employees and members of the company.

Here are some scenarios that your business code of ethics should address:

Ethical Business Example Scenario: Gift Giving

In considering the question about gift giving, there are several possible responses.

Many companies have gift exchanges over the winter holidays and in these cases, a gift is entirely appropriate. Those same companies may feel that gifts are unacceptable for any other reason in a corporate environment.

In general, a professional atmosphere must be maintained between employer and employee relationships, and anything that may jeopardize that is not part of a sound ethical code.

Ethical Business Example Scenario: Sharing Employee Personal Information

As far as the question of sharing employee personal information with clients, any code of ethics should discourage this type of behavior. Even sharing employee personal information within the bounds of your organization should be discouraged and handled appropriately. 

Employees should be able to have privacy in their personal lives if they wish, so long as private affairs don't become reputation-damaging.

Ethical Business Example Scenario: Client / Customer Communication

All contact with client organization members or customers should be done from a professional distance while maintaining decorum and respect.

For instance, social media contact with clients should be discouraged because it interferes with the employee / client professional relationship. LinkedIn may be okay in many instances, but for instance, Instagram is a boundary that employees should not cross.

Ethical Business Example

The YMCA is a good example of an organization that expects a high level of professionalism and decorum.

Their code of conduct specifically states that they expect their employees and members “to act maturely, to behave responsibly, and to respect the rights and dignity of others.”

Get Help with Business Ethics

With a strict code of ethics, an organization and its human resource department (if applicable) can ensure that there is a professional standard that is maintained at all times. This is a basis for long-term success of any organization.

Businesses that are struggling to define what their code of ethics or conduct should be or include, may want to reach out to a Human Resources Company for help. Contact us today to learn more about Trivantus and our HR services.

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