While some would argue profits or return to shareholders is the most important function of a business enterprise, I would suggest that one of the most important qualities that people look for in any organization is ethical behavior. You will have no business if you ignore the value of treating your customers as your most valuable asset. Most organizations, if they are honest, want to be able to assure their customers that their business is appreciated and that they will always be treated fairly. Hence business ethics training is a critical component of most highly successful businesses.
Here are a few easy tips to follow when it comes to business ethics.
Business Ethics Should Exist in All Levels of Business
Ethical behavior should be practiced from the highest level of the business all the way down. If it is expected that all employees act ethically, they should see the same behavior from their superiors. If the head of the company and upper management cannot act in an acceptable manner, it will be nearly impossible to expect anything but the same behavior from other levels.
Business Ethics Should be Practiced Internally
Business ethics is not just for customer-facing positions. Every employee should be treated ethically as well. The way that an employee is treated should be an example of how management expects a customer to be treated. A high level of ethics should be evident from the time that a perspective employee is interviewed and continue for the duration of the time spent with the company. When employees are promoted to upper levels of management, the code of ethics should be deeply embedded in the behavior and serve as an example for others.
Stick to the Basic Principles
As evidenced by many current news stories, it is not uncommon for large corporations to be accused of unethical behavior. As a leader in business, it is important to stick to the principles that helped the company grow from its modest beginnings. Many customers say that they love to patronize small businesses because of the personal attention they receive and because they feel appreciated. These basic principles should not be forgotten as the business grows.
Deal with Problems Immediately
As with any business, there are going to be problems. It is important to address any issues immediately instead of hoping that it will just go away or remedy itself. When it comes to an unhappy employee or an unsatisfied customer, a simple acknowledgement of the issue goes a long way, especially if the solution is not instantaneous.
Rely on the Facts
As human beings, it is natural to want to react emotionally to certain situations. If a customer is yelling at you over an issue, the initial reaction may be to retaliate or become defensive. Don’t be so quick to just to conclusions or create an opinion on the manner before gathering all of the facts. Reacting emotionally can cause the situation to spin out of control very quickly. You want to get to the root cause of the issue at hand and then work toward a solution instead of laying blame.
Following the above principles may seem like common sense, as they should. Remember that you are dealing with people, not just numbers or statistics. In order to be successful in business, you have to be able to create a positive environment that is ethics rich.