Why Bother with Business Ethics?

Many people don’t see the financial payoff for having strong business ethics. Why give up that extra $200 a month in false business travel expenses? The company doesn’t need it and you do. Why not inflate your sales report for the year? It might mean a promotion.

In fact, there are several ways that ethical behavior can actually make your company money.

Customers choose ethics.

Customers will base their decision whether or not to shop with you partially on ethics.
Think about it this way. If you had a choice between two car salespeople, one who has a reputation for selling stolen vehicles and one who has a reputation for ensuring that the customer gets all the information about a vehicle’s past, which would you choose?

Customers appreciate Business Ethics.

Let’s say you’ve purchased a television from a local electronics store. The company calls you back the next day to let you know that you actually overpaid for the TV and that a check for the overcharged amount is in the mail. You’d probably be stupefied. Who admits their mistakes, especially when it costs them money? But the next time you wanted to make an electronics purchase, you would probably remember that incident and go back to that store. Customers reward ethical companies with loyalty.

Employees are more loyal to an ethical company.

If you’re working for a company that lies, cheats, and steals, you’re apt to think that the company will do the same to you, and you’ll probably be less loyal to them as a result.

Ethical companies are more productive.

At one time or another, most of us have taken a sick day when we’re really not sick. This is, in essence, lying to and stealing from the company. (Yes, sick days are a benefit of being an employee, but they do cost the company money and must be used wisely.) Studies have shown that employees in ethical offices take less time off and are more productive when they’re in the office (probably because they’re not gossiping and doing other unethical things!).

An ethical office means lower legal costs.

If your employees are in the habit of lying, cheating, and stealing, someone is going to get caught eventually and it will likely mean a big legal headache (and a big bill) for the company. Nipping unethical behavior in the bud can reduce your chances of a lawsuit.


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If this post caught your interest, you should take a look at what our Trained By Pros course, Business Ethics for the Office, has to offer.