How Do Ethics Make You a Better Person in the Workplace?

By: David Ingram, a special to Overdrive

Ethical employees are those who make decisions in the best interest of their employers, co-workers and outside stakeholders in addition to themselves. Workplace ethics center on such diverse issues as discrimination, fraud, theft and personal politics. Although all people are intrinsically valuable, ethical employees can actually be more financially valuable to their employers, and more valued by co-workers and peers. Understanding how ethics can make you a better person in the workplace is a solid starting point for a commitment to always doing the right thing.

Trusting Relationships

Ethical employees build trust in their workplace relationships, allowing people to open up to them, share private information and feel more at ease communicating with them. Areas of ethics that affect trust include honesty, fairness and avoiding rumors. Gaining the trust of your co-workers can enhance your productivity by making it easier for you to communicate and work with others in the workplace. Employees who spread distrust can meet resistance when seeking help from others, but trusted co-workers can always find a helping hand. Gaining the trust of your managers can open doors for new responsibilities at work, possibly leading to promotions and pay raises.

Team Cohesiveness

The ethical commitments of individual employees has an effect on team and department performance in addition to individual performance. Being an ethical employee makes you a better team player, always making positive contributions in group settings and never hindering group progress. An employee who is stealing from company funds, for example, can cause divisions, rumors and resentment among accounting employees as co-workers begin to suspect others of participating. An employee with a solid commitment to ethics can identify and expose issues of theft early.

Value to Employers

Companies live or die on the trust they place in their employees. An unethical employee in the ranks can land an entire company in legal trouble, or can destroy a company’s hard-earned reputation in the marketplace. Ethical employees are better people to have working for any company, as top managers and business owners can rest assured that their employees adhere to ethics policies and use ethical reasoning when making company decisions.

Personal Wellness

Being an ethical employee can make you a better person on the inside in addition to increasing your value to others. Unethical acts such as theft and fraud, for example, can weigh people down with guilt and paranoia, resulting in hostile and fearful attitudes at work and at home. Employees who spread nasty rumors or lies about others can live in a constant state of paranoia, as another example, as they try to remember which lies they told to whom and when. Using ethics to guide all of your decisions at work can grant you peace of mind, emotional stability and the ability to cultivate lasting friendships. This can increase your job satisfaction, in addition to giving you more serenity for life in general.


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