Headlines are constantly flooded with allegations of unethical workplace practices or company dilemmas. Because of this, we often see businesses going into crisis mode with public relations, finances and sometimes the liquidation of an entire franchise. But why do we get so hung up on what they’re doing wrong? We rarely see a celebration of the ethical people in business. Reputations are on the line and even the slight air of uncertainty can be detrimental for a business – small or large.

It is crucial that as employees or business owners, we understand how people define workplace ethics. Without making a conscious effort to implement a strategy for this, it puts people at risk of coming under intense scrutiny by the press, board members or even other employees. It is no secret that even in our everyday lives, we are becoming more aware of our standpoint and the decisions we make in light of ethical behaviour. But what’s the difference between ethical people in the workplace versus day to day?

Define workplace ethics

Good work ethics play a really important role in reaping benefits for a business. Not only do they ensure you have a structured and sound team of employees, but they can also reward the company as a whole in many ways. Ethics, in general, can be seen as the principles, standards and morals of an individual. They are what helps us determine right from wrong, and leads the way in which we present ourselves to other people.

In the business world, HR plays a huge role in hiring ethical people from the beginning. The interview process is the start of determining a person’s work ethic and their fit within the company. With this in mind, there are a few key behaviours employers value that can be advantageous to the company reputation.

  • Honesty: This is something that we value in everyday life anyway. Not only at work, but meeting people in our personal lives. It’s the foundation of trust, and without it, it can be hard to form lasting relationships.
  • Discipline: Skills and talent are one thing, but without the willingness and ability to apply that to work, you’re not going to be benefitting anyone. Worklife is busy and can be stressful at times. That’s why it’s so crucial to have a level of discipline that allows you to keep up with workloads and keep the pace.
  • Accountability: You may need to set the tone with this one. But making people aware of how important it is to be held accountable will lead to highly responsible and conscientious employees. If someone can’t hold themselves accountable for their own work and actions, it will inevitably lead to a breakdown of communication and team relationships.
  • Integrity: This is really the mark of ideal employees. They are the ones with the strongest morals and usually the people you can rely on to do right every time. They also set fantastic examples for the others in your business because they aren’t afraid of doing what they believe in. Their principles allow them to go above and beyond.

What do ethical people mean for the workplace?

What may seem like something that was swept under the rug in previous generations, now plays the most important role of all. The reputation of a company impacts the whole business model. Without people recognising you in a positive light – you won’t achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Creating a narrative for your teams to follow and building a foundation of moral conduct means no one will have that opportunity to disregard your workplace ethics. But why else will it benefit you?

Attracting new customers

If people appreciate the way you run things and can see your effort to look after employees and clients alike, they’ll be more inclined to make a move. People care about honesty, so the more personable you can be and the clearer your brand message is – the more reason they have to trust you. And we know how much of an impact trust can make. Even in our own lives – we gravitate towards people we trust, and we have better relationships with them. The same goes for businesses. More trust means more interaction, more respect and overall – more sales!

Customer loyalty

Much like the previous point – trust comes into play here. Customer retention is a difficult aspect of building a business. Not only do you want a steady flow of new customers for increased revenue, but it’s also important to hold onto the ones you already have. These are the people that will continuously talk about your brand and recommend you to other people. So in reality, it’s these people that will help you achieve benefit one – attracting new customers. With an ethical workplace, they will keep coming back because they respect you and believe in what you do.

workplace ethics



This is going to matter more to public listed companies, but as you grow, it can be something to bear in mind. Should you want to branch out later, the easier it will be to prove yourself from the start.

Having strong ethical behaviour will bring confidence to investors or potential investors. When they can see your integrity shining through your brand, they know other people will notice too. This makes you a fantastic candidate to invest in. The longevity of your business relies on these people’s trust in you. If you can prove your effort to make ethics part of your culture, it will no doubt benefit you long-term.

Media recognition

Getting your name out to the public is one of the first things you think about when running a business. Without it, it’s going to be extremely hard to gain clients and you’ll be relying solely on organic traffic to do so. This is a lot of effort and can take years to actually benefit you. If you can kick off the process with an amazing reputation amongst your local community and local publications, it will soon spread. The media will only support you if they can guarantee it will reflect on them positively. So by having ethical people represent your brand, you’re giving the press a reason to represent and recognise you too.


Partnering with other companies – especially ones that have already built a good reputation for themselves – will help to prove your reputability. It shows your initiative to work alongside businesses you believe in and give something back. Not only are you benefitting them with what you can offer, but you could see the rewards too. It can help spread your message to a wider audience, gaining more custom as a result. You can lean on each other for support if needed, but overall, partnerships benefit all parties immensely.

What can you do to promote ethics in your business?

On a positive note, there are a lot of ways you can build and maintain your reputation as a trustworthy brand. It all starts at the top. If business owners and CEOs create an ethical foundation, it won’t be hard to ensure continuity. The people at the top of the ladder set an example for what is expected throughout the business. So start by making all of these principles part of your company values. The clearer it is to people that you will expect nothing less, the easier it will be for them to take it on as part of their life.

Also, it is important all of your employees have a chance to voice their opinions and thoughts. Without it, you could be running in different directions, never sure who is or isn’t on the same page. It also promotes the equality and honest you want within your business. This is what will be noticed by outsiders and what will encourage employee advocacy. Having people who enjoy working for you and share your vision will be invaluable.

Are you still looking for ways to boost your reputation? Or maybe you need some more advice on how to promote ethical behaviour in the workplace, not to worry – speak to one of our dedicated Azimuth experts today. You can do this by contacting us at enquiries@azimuth.eu.com or call +44 (0)1483 24 33 81. We’ll be more than happy to discuss how we can help you and with over 20 years of experience across a range of industries, we have the innovative, proven tools that can help you unlock the true potential of your business. What are you waiting for?

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