6 Ways of Mastering Business Ethics And How To Maintain Them


Mastering a code of business ethics is an effective way to establish guidelines for how to act, whether as an individual or within a group or organization. You might want to develop one for yourself or a group you’re involved in, or you might be trying to set down some rules in your company. In any case, developing a code of business ethics begins with identifying values and deciding how you and others should respond in certain situations. From there, you can draft the code and move on to the most important part, putting the code into practice by living and working according to it.

What Does Work ethics Mean?

A simple work ethic definition is a set of morals, principles, and values that guide our approach to work. But it’s more than that, right? It’s our character and drive that help us get stuff done. Work ethic is where dedication meets determination. It shows up big time in our personal brand how we behave and even how we look. Here are a few personal traits you’re likely to notice in someone who has a good work ethic:

  • Manners: They treat others the way they want to be treated.
  • Attendance: They show up faithfully when and where they’re supposed to be.

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  • Attitude: They’re optimistic, helpful, and A-game-ready.
  • Appearance: They don’t have to be a fashionista, but they follow company dress standards and show up clean and confident.
  • Communication: They know when to speak up, listen and ask questions.
  • Cooperation: They work well with others, respect the chain of command, and use feedback, conflict, and stress to grow stronger in their role.
  • Productivity: They follow instructions, manage their time well, and see projects through.  
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You might already have a mental picture of what a poor work ethic looks like for example, coming in late, taking long breaks, doing the minimum, and goofing off on company time. That’s the last thing you want when you’re trying to build a great business. Sure, everybody has off days. But when an off day becomes a lifestyle, that could signal a bigger problem poor work ethic.

6 Ways to Master Business Ethics

1. Be direct about your values and culture in the hiring process.

Your standards and expectations should be clear from the first interview. For example, if doing the right thing even when no one is watching is a company value, talk about it. You might even give specifics for how that applies to work hours, meeting deadlines, and limiting personal work on company time.

You can also learn a lot about a job candidate’s work ethic by asking certain interview questions.

2. Create a strong orientation and onboarding program.

As you welcome and train new team members, revisit your values, expectations, and policies. More is caught than taught, so the people they shadow and learn from should be shining examples of the work ethic you want.

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3. Provide tools, resources, and training.

It’s never fun to waste precious work time scrambling to get the computer, software, keycard, passwords, or contact details you need to do your job. Help your team members help you by making it easy for them to get the tools and training they need to be a rock stars.

4. Show gratitude.

Sometimes work ethic slips when team members don’t feel valued. Let them know where they’re crushing it and offer specific appreciation for a job well done.

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5. Be a leader people want to follow.

Remember what we said earlier about more is caught than taught? That’s especially true of what your team sees in you. So model the character you want to shine through in them.

6. Incorporate team-building activities into your culture

Let’s be real, all work and no play is a grind. But laughter is good for the soul and for building unity. Whether it’s Fun Friday games, an all-team outing, or free pizza for lunch, learn what activities are big wins with your team and add them to their calendars regularly.


Why Is Work Ethic Important?

When you think of Thomas Edison, you probably think brilliant inventor. But Thomas Edison would say he was just a hard worker. Somewhere in between masterminding thousands of inventions like the lightbulb, phonograph, and the entire electric power industry (talk about an overachiever), Edison shared his secret to success: “The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”

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You heard it from Edison: A good work ethic sets you up to do worthwhile work, work that matters. And no matter if you’re considering its benefits for you or for your team, hard work helps everyone:

  • Overcome challenges and be productive
  • Achieve business and personal goals
  • Build a reputation for integrity and reliability
  • Get amazing new opportunities to do more work they love
  • Create a motivating and fun company culture
  • Attract other hard workers to their team
  • Serve others better
  • Experience a greater sense of value and purpose