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What is work ethics and what role does it play in the modern business world today?

Business ethics. It’s a minefield isn’t it? Some employers will be extremely stringent on some things, yet let others slide. Often to suit themselves and the profit margin. This brings into question attitude, respectful behaviour, values, responsibility and social awareness and responsibility.


Philosophically viewed decent work ethics requires one to do the proper or right thing in any given circumstance. To make morally correct decisions.


Luckily, the world we live in today is far more geared to exposing unethical business practises than ever before. Social media, the mainstream media in all it’s guises as well as the world’s need to make a call between right and wrong is stronger than ever in this regard. There are so many more stop-guards, checks and counter checks to ensure that ethics and business live closer together every day. 


Our course explores the role that ethics plays in business today. It asks some valuable questions and gives you guidelines in this regard. 


Let’s use the  #MeToo movement. It has and will continue to draw attention. High profile showbiz names such as Cosby, Weinstein and Spacey still feature in the headlines and as a result some of them are doing jail time.  The attention was at first focused on Hollywood, where it started gaining momentum. But then, as this business ethics search light pulled out, it shone far and wide outside the movie world and into corporate world too. At one junction Google employees  made their displeasure known due to the company’s handling of sexual harassment claims. 


The facilitators who present education in and around ethics as well as social responsibility have to start including #MeToo in the Classroom. It’s a natural progression and just plainly results in more businesses using this type of thinking and initiatives to do ethical business.


Although this is an extreme example, the smallest blimp on the ethics meter can eventually lead to massive business disasters. They examples are too numerous to go into but this truly is one of those pebble in the water scenarios which very quickly spirals out of control.  


But let’s define business ethics. Simply put: customers, management, and employees all appreciate honest and ethical practices. Business ethics are vital in this chain because they establish trust, help maintain a reliable reputation, avoid significant financial and legal issues, and they ultimately benefit everyone involved in a fair exchange. That’s if ethical business is applied. 


There are so many modern day conundrums when it comes to performing business in an ethical manner. Things such as technology’s role in mental health, the long term cost of industrial farming or climate change versus profits. Corporate social responsibility programs and charitable causes supported by business. 


An ethical front or face which is presented to the outside world will guarantee you a good reputation. A good reputation in turn is a sure way to ensure that current and prospective clients want to do business with you and your outfit. 


According to a recent survey by the Better Business Bureau, 36 percent of employees stated that they had become distracted at the office by incidences of poor ethics in their workplace. Clearly then it means that better ethics produces employees with sharper focus which improves profit margins, productivity and a pleasant work environment.


Not surprisingly employees also stay with an organisation longer and over the long term produces better results than those employees who encounter unethical or criminal behaviour. This is according to the American Ethics Resource Center who are unequivocal: companies that espouse behaviour that crosses the ethical line do not retain workers. This results in a severe loss of time, budget and expertise which obviously affects financial, marketing and reputational success.  


The opposite side of this coin is also applicable. If you are an ethical employee, the Ethics Center found that you very much enhance your chances of retaining your job and advancing your career on the long term.  To take this one step further, research has shown that a good work ethic, which includes business ethics, integrity, honesty and virtuousness are all highly valued, yet soft skills which are searched for when employers interview for jobs universally - the world over.  


The Speccon teaching on this course also speaks to the fact that when there are financially difficult times, attention and focus on ethics programmes at work are crucial. This also includes when change happens and let’s be frank with each other, that is the one thing that is indeed a constant: 



If there is a moral compass to which employees can cling to at a company in times of pressure, either due to budgetary constraints, conflict or rapid change, then ethically responsible leaders can guide them through these trying times. When the decisions taken at times such as these are made with ethical and moral thought processes clearly observed through it all, then inevitably the outcomes are good for all concerned. 


An employee who espouses these qualities - solid work ethics - effectively means that these traits will make useful contributions to the vision, goals and success of the company. 


Our Speccon course on this vital business practise highlights these and many other factors in the pursuit of upbuilding, clean, good work ethic which will enhance your bottom line, your staff, the perceptions you create in the market place and your legal standing in almost any matter. 

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