Ethics are principles of conduct that govern a group or an individual's behavior or how to conduct an activity. An ethics code is a set of guidelines on organization's ethical standards and values that an organization issues to its management and employees to guide them conduct themselves in accordance with the standards. An ethics code is important to any organization since it's upon which all decisions are based. It creates a clear understanding of how to relate to external stakeholders among other boundaries within a firm. In a case when ethics are breached by an individual employee, an ethics code can protect the organization's legal standing and reputation. An ethics code, therefore, plays a pivotal role in any organization and an organization's management should ensure that the ethics codes are clear to the employees and that the employees comply with them. This paper will discuss some of the methods that firms use to monitor their employees and to ensure their compliance with the firms' ethics codes.
Human Resource (HR) department is very crucial in ensuring code of ethics are adhered to since it deals directly with the employees. The first step in ensuring an organization's ethics are adhered to through hiring ethical employees. This can be done by emphasizing on ethics on recruitment materials. Background checks and honesty tests can be used to know more about the candidates and from that, the ethical ones can be chosen. The impression that the firm portrays during the recruitment process also tells a lot about the importance of ethics to the company. If the firm creates an impression that ethics are not important to the candidates, even after being recruited the now employees might assume the ethics code is not important hence reluctance in complying (Dessler, 2015). The firm should emphasize on its strictness on ethics and this should be evident in the recruitment process by being fair and treating the applicants the right way.
Training is another method that firms use to monitor their employees and ensure that they comply with the firms' code of ethics. Through ethical training, employees are shown how they can use the set ethics code to solve dilemmas. They are shown how to identify ethical dilemmas. When the employees are trained they get to know more about the firm's ethics and when they are faced with problems, they know how to go about it ethically. Through training, the employees understand what is expected of them by the firm and what the consequences of violating the ethics code are. They are taught how to use human resource functions like disciplinary practices and interviews in a manner that is ethical.
Most firms have disciplinary and reward systems to punish employees who are unethical and to reward ethical employees (Dessler, 2015). Punishment ensures that the employees conduct themselves in an ethical manner. The firm's code of conduct should have a standard disciplinary policy that should be followed and it should be fair to all employees. If the policies are followed effectively, the compliance to firm's ethics is promoted. The ethical employees should be regarded as a way of motivating them to continue upholding the firm's ethics and values.
Managers use performance appraisal to assess the performance of employees. If conducted fairly, the firm's management is able to assess the employees' compliance with the firms' ethics and general performance. The appraisals should be fair to all employees and with clear standards. This sends a message to the employees on importance and strictness of ethics in the firm. Fairness enhances employees' commitment and compliance with the firm's code of ethics.
Compliance with ethics code by employees is greatly determined by the firm. It is the firm that determines the employees take on the firm's ethics. If the management is reluctant to the firm's ethics there is a great possibility of the employees been reluctant too. The management should, therefore, come up with more methods of enforcing a code of ethics in the firm. By enhancing the employees' compliance with the ethics code it will improve their performance and in turn, the general performance of the firm will improve.
Dessler, G.(2015). Human resource management. Pearson.
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