I meet many business owners who complain about the work ethic of their employees. Work ethics is a set of moral principles or values that an employee abides by and uses in their job performance. Work ethic is the ability of an employee to have an attitude to perform his/her job duties with high moral standards and maintain proper workplace values. It is a soft skill with an inherent attitude an individual has, which allows him/her to perform their duties with positive moral values that include teamwork, responsibility, integrity and discipline. Those with a strong work ethic place a high value on their professional success. They exhibit moral principles that make them outstanding employees in any position.
Some examples of Strong or Poor Work Ethics can be seen below:
The one million dollar question, I am frequently asked, is how to go about instilling strong work ethics among employees. Below are some pointers:-
Set and communicate goals clearly: Any team leader and manager must explain the work and goal before starting a new task. Employees may be very talented but they still need guidance and direction in their work.
Set an example – Be an example: If you want to instill good work ethics among your team, you must lead them from the front. A leader should be a light in the dark. If you want results from your team, then be ethical towards your work and commitment. You can’t expect that your team will work ethically unless you can set an ethical benchmark to them. When you motivate your teammates, you should always look in the mirror and see whether you have set a good example or not.
Be Professional: A professional person exhibits a quality of craft and service. Professionalism starts with trust, loyalty, discipline, and a hunger for excellence. Employees with this work ethic aim to bring excellence, no matter their position in the organisation. As a leader your need to be always professional. Such an attitude draws team members towards you and your vision. Managers, therefore, need to promote professionalism and bring goodwill to an organisation.
Creating an engaging work environment: The workplace environment should be engaging and friendly. As a business owner it is your responsibility that employees feel safe at work, both physically and mentally. If you don’t prioritise your working environment and the overall well being of your employees at work, your employees would feel less accountable to their work.
Set the tone. Set policies: Make sure you have policies in place. Your workplace needs to have predefined policies and workflows to help remind people about the rules, establish expected practices, and outline the consequences of deviating from the rules. That way things are clear in everyone’s head.
Be disciplined: Discipline is one of the core aspects of work ethics. Management must be very particular about it. When willpower becomes part of the company culture, it will resonate with all your workforce employees. Discipline helps teammates to work efficiently towards their mission and is also helpful in achieving the desired goals. Ignoring or passing over bad ethics in the workplace sends the message to your team that not only will that type of wrong behaviour go unaddressed, it communicates that it’s acceptable, and long-term, they may view the company in a negative light and choose to leave. This is due to its impact on the work culture where misconduct is tolerated, resulting in higher employee turnover, lower productivity and ultimately a diminished reputation and profitability.
Understand the needs of your employees:You must know the needs of your employees if you want to boost your workforce motivation. Employees show a high level of engagement towards work when their needs are satisfied. Your workforce needs are constantly changing. Some employees prefer working from home or remotely, while others seek training and development. Understanding the needs of employees helps stimulate performance and overall motivation.
Learn from your mistakes: No one is immune to making mistakes – we are human, after all! A mistake is part of the journey. But if we simply carry on as before, we are in danger of repeating the same errors. As I always say, you should always aim at making original mistakes. When we don’t learn from our mistakes, we inflict stress on ourselves and others, and we risk losing people’s confidence and trust in us. The people with the best work ethics are capable of picking themselves up after mistakes.
Foster a culture of honest feedback: Feedback is an essential part of workplace communication. Constant feedback plays a vital role in nurturing an environment with good work ethics. Honest and constructive feedback is crucial for any business to build a culture for continuous improvement.Feedback facilitates open discussions, transparent company culture, suggestions, and rigorous exchange of ideas and information.
Reward hard working employees with good work ethic: Human beings have an intrinsic need to thrive for appreciation. Rewarding and recognising is a good practice to ensure that the momentum of appreciation is maintained. It acts as a motivator in “keeping up the good work.” Employees setting good examples for others through their sound work ethics are just as deserving of recognition as your best performer. It is your responsibility to fuel their spirits and make them feel happy, valued and appreciated.
Workplace ethics are important because they keep all members of an organisation accountable for their actions. Maintaining an ethical code creates a sense of security through boundaries for employees. It also enables management to make decisions that benefit the company while meeting consumer and employee needs.