- Examine how training can impact ethical behavior
Could you imagine starting a new job and receiving zero guidance on how to perform your job functions? There would be a lot of confusion and frustration. In addition, there would not be any consistency in day-to-day operations. Job training is imperative to creating an effective workforce that is able to meet goals and required output. Without training to align all employees with company policies and procedures, a company would suffer tremendously.
Training is also a fundamental part of implementing a code of ethics. Without training, parts of the code of conduct may be left up to interpretation. Training will help to ensure that every employee is on the same page about their obligation to the code. It is also a great way see a variety of ethics-violation scenarios. Seeing examples of ethics violations and being able to ask questions can be a wonderful learning opportunity. So why is it so important to train employees on every aspect? A code of ethics is the foundation on which a company operates. If employees of the company are not fully aware of the code of ethics and its expectations, it creates a weak foundation. Although it takes time to train everyone, training is a critical part of implementing a successful ethical culture.
Training can occur in many different ways. Some companies hold large group training sessions, others prefer one-on-one training or online training modules. Regardless of how a company decides to train their employees on the code of ethics, a refresher course should also be made available. Some companies retrain their employees on their code of ethics every six months or every year. This is done to ensure everyone understands the code of ethics’ expectations and has the opportunity to refresh their knowledge on the subject. A lot can happen in a year, and it is a good idea to reexamine expectations to help realign and guide employees moving forward. A code of ethics should be used as a daily guide for members of an organization. Although it may not be referenced every day, it should still be at the forefront of employees’ minds when making daily decisions. Therefore, it should not be a document discussed one time during training, but rather a living, breathing document that is used at all levels of an organization on a regular basis.
Training employees on the code of ethics and how to report violations is key to implementing the code of ethics on the ground level. It is equally important to train the management team on how to handle enforcing ethical conduct on their team. Management ethics training should include how to handle an ethics violation report from an employee. If management does not know how to process a complaint or violation, the code of ethics is compromised. If they do not properly handle violations, they will continue to occur without repercussions. Managers play a big role in ethical culture. We will discuss their role further in the next section.