What Are the Benefits of Work Ethics Training?

Carrieanne Larmore

The benefits of a work ethics training program include preparing employees for facing ethical dilemmas, guiding employees in decision making, and enforcing the importance of being ethical at work. Successful work ethics training programs reduce the number of violations and complaints since employees are more likely to notify management if they witness workers acting in an unethical manner or against the company's guidelines. Providing ethics training costs businesses in terms of time and money, but the benefits often save money in the long run. Ethical violations can result in significant fines from governments or lawsuits from affected parties.

Work ethics training might cover how to handle attempts at bribery.
Work ethics training might cover how to handle attempts at bribery.

Preparing employees for facing ethical dilemmas is one of the main benefits of work ethics training. It provides employees with a framework for decision making and an understanding of the company's expectations from them. Ethical dilemmas can vary from accepting bribes to sacrificing customer safety to meet productivity goals. Employees also will be able to more easily recognize differences between their personal ethical beliefs and those of the organization, making them more conscientious of what is the appropriate action. For instance, in some countries it is acceptable to bribe officials to get a contract, so an employee may not be aware that it is illegal in the country of the home office.

Ethical violations may force a company to fire employees.
Ethical violations may force a company to fire employees.

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Guiding employees into making more ethical decisions is another benefit of work ethics training. Even when not faced with a large ethical dilemma, decisions requiring a solid foundation in ethics are made on a daily basis. For instance, the employee may regularly take home some office supplies without thinking of how it is costing the company. If an employee witnesses someone going against the company's ethical guidelines, he or she will know what to do and how to report the incident.

Ethics training provides employees with a framework for decision making and an understanding of the company's expectations for them.
Ethics training provides employees with a framework for decision making and an understanding of the company's expectations for them.

Enforcing the importance of being ethical on the job, work ethics training can help employees better understand why certain rules exist. Sometimes this knowledge helps employees to put themselves in the shoes of their employees and be more aware of the consequences of their actions. They will understand what consequences the company could face for unethical decisions, such as lawsuits, injuries to customers, or cost increases. Ethical violations can significantly hurt a company’s brand image, decrease its sales, and may result in the company having to lay off employees or close its doors permanently. Strong work ethics training programs help employees be more aware of the significance of their actions and makes them more inclined to tell management if they witness someone going against what is ethically right.

Work ethics training programs may help prepare police officers for facing ethical dilemmas.
Work ethics training programs may help prepare police officers for facing ethical dilemmas.

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Discussion Comments

Ivan83

Ethics always becomes deeper, richer and more useful when it is discussed. That is why I think ethics training is a great thing in the workplace.

Many employers will try to handle ethical concerns by putting together a memo or a manual. But the concept of ethics resists this kind of top down approach. It needs to be explored and discussed. People need to look each other in the face. In my experience, the only way to really reinforce the ethical expectations of an institution is to have an in depth training.

tigers88

It is important for every large company to have some kind of ethics training just to make sure that all employees are on the same page and understand the ethical character of the firm.

Business ethics is not a universal thing. All companies approach it differently and there are different standards/expectations across industries and geographies. Ethical training is often an afterthought but there can be serious penalties for unethical behavior.

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