Ways Managers Can Encourage Ethical Behavior

Ways Managers Can Encourage Ethical Behavior

It is important for managers to focus on accomplishing company goals while developing good relationships in the workplace but it is equally important to focus on ethical conduct among employees. Unethical behavior in the workplace has been around since the beginning of time but that doesn’t mean it has to be acceptable in your company.  Every company should have a code of ethics in place that represents the company’s values, responsibilities, and conduct expectations.  It should act as a moral compass that guides employees in handling ethical dilemmas.  Ethical conduct will ensure that your business maintains a reputation of professional principles and values.  Here are a few ways managers can promote ethical conduct among their staff.


You can’t expect your employees to follow your code of ethics if they don’t know what it is.  As part of the onboarding process employees should be educated on your code of ethics and why it’s important. They should also have a clear understanding of the ramifications if they fail to behave ethically.   Managers should also hold regular workshops on ethics and demonstrate how employees can solve problems ethically.  Use examples and role play to give employees opportunities to work through various dilemmas.  The more you train employees and place an emphasis on the importance of ethical behavior the more your staff will understand what is expected in the workplace.


Oftentimes companies expect ethical behavior but they fail to acknowledge it.  If managers really want to promote ethical behavior they need to reward it when they see it.  If a manager catches an employee doing something right, they should stop and thank them.  Managers could also implement a system where employees can anonymously submit examples of their colleagues behaving ethically. Ethical behavior should be included in performance reviews and managers can encourage it by showing gratitude when they see it.

Lead by Example

If managers want their staff to behave ethically then they must understand that it starts with them.  Employees generally follow the examples set forth for them by management.  If managers hold themselves to a high standard of ethical behavior then they have credibility when they expect the same thing from their employees.  If everyone is on the same page it becomes easier for the team as a whole to adopt the same types of ethical behaviors.

Treat Employees Well

Managers really need to reflect on their current operating methods.  If management is emphasizing the importance of ethics at work but doesn’t treat its own employees fairly, it becomes hypocritical.  When managers are respectful to their staff they are able to develop a trusting relationship that encourages ethical behavior.  Therefore, managers need to consider the company’s decisions to hire, train, promote, and pay employees.  They also need to make sure that what they are asking of their employees is reasonable.  When managers show that they are invested in the success and well-being of their employees, it creates a company culture that is built on ethical principles.