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Any preparation for the workplace is incomplete without a discussion of ethics. Ethics are principles that help people decide between right and wrong. Ethics are similar to morals or values, but ethics typically hold people to a higher standard. Just as it’s important to be moral in everyday life, it is important to be ethical in the workplace. Sometimes it’s easy to do the right thing; The situation is black and white and the ethical solution is obvious. Other times, the ethical thing to do is not so obvious. The solution might be hidden within some grey area. In situations like these it is important to refer back to workplace ethics to come to the right decision. In this post we review some of the basics of workplace ethics.


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Honesty is always the best policy, especially in the workplace, where the penalty for lying can be very harsh and permanent. Everyone deserves to know the truth, so out of respect for your coworkers and supervisors, always choose to be honest. There might be times when you wonder if telling the truth is really necessary.

For example, perhaps the truth might hurt someone’s feelings or make someone upset with you. Even in situations like these, honesty is the ethical solution and the best solution. If some people get upset at first, they will eventually respect you for your honesty and be grateful that you told the truth.

Work Hard When You Are at Work

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When you’re getting paid to do a job, it is unethical to use that time for personal activities. This is really a form of stealing, as you are accepting payment for work that you aren’t doing. As long as you are on the clock, or getting paid to work, you should focus on doing your work. Save personal activities for your break or wait until after work to take care of them.

Don’t Hide From Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. We are all human and no one is perfect. So when you make a mistake at work, it is better to take responsibility for it and figure out how to fix it than to try and cover up the mistake or hide from it. The sooner you take action to fix the mistake, the easier it is to fix. If you try to ignore your mistake it will likely turn into something even bigger and become harder to fix.

Think of your mistake as a pipe with a small leak. There’s not a lot of damage that can be done in one day of slow dripping. But as time goes on, the hole in the pipe will get worse and the water damage will spread. Had the leaky pipe been fixed right away when you noticed the leak, you could have easily fixed the pipe and avoided such a large repair project.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due


In the workplace, it’s not always obvious who is responsible for all of the work that employees do. There will be times when you will work with your coworkers on a project or someone will help you with your job responsibilities in order to meet a deadline. In these situations, it’s important to acknowledge your coworkers and give them credit for the work they do. It is unethical to take responsibility for work that you didn’t do.

Show Integrity

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Integrity is acting and behaving in a way that is consistent with your moral values. In other words, do you practice what you preach? In order to show integrity, it’s necessary to first identify your values. A value is a belief about what is good, fair and beautiful. Think about what you value.

Your family?
Your Faith?
Your Friendships?

In order to be ethical and successful in the workplace, it’s important that your values match your goals. If your values match your goals, you are more likely to follow through and achieve your goals. For example, if your family is one of your values, then providing for them will probably be important to you. You will want to make goals that will allow you to be successful in your job and ensure that you can provide for your family.

We hope you enjoyed this post about workplace ethics and professionalism in the workplace. If you would like to see how our program can help your students become ready for the workplace click the free trail link below.