Business Ethics Examples (And How To Improve Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 2 September 2022 | Published 15 November 2021

Updated 2 September 2022

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses usually have an obligation to function professionally and in the best interests of their employees and customers. Upholding certain standards and ethics can help businesses offer excellent service to their customers, navigate challenges and retain quality employees. Understanding different types of business ethics and tips to improve them can help one adhere to various business values while working in an organisation. In this article, we discuss common business ethics examples and values and look at the steps towards improving them.

Related: Business Ethics: Definition, Principles And Importance

12 Business Ethics Examples

Business ethics are moral guidelines that can influence how a company functions. Here are some common business ethics examples:

1. Transparency

Transparency is an important value that businesses seek to imbibe. This value serves as a basis for trust between an organisation and its customers, investors, employees and partners. Transparency translates to being open and honest with stakeholders in various matters pertaining to business. Transparency means various things for different stakeholders. For an investor, it can mean ready access to financial information, price levels and financial reports. For customers, it can mean timely response to inquiries and feedback. Transparency for employees can mean honest two-way communication and transparent discussions on professional goals, workplace issues and performance.

Related: What Is a Code of Ethics and What Are Its Principles?

2. Integrity

Integrity is another core business value that many organisations strive to stand by. Business integrity involves always being truthful and displaying honour and courage while making difficult situations. Integrity is doing what is morally right always, and can reflect strength and commendable character. When a business displays integrity, it works on closing gaps between its actions and intentions. It ensures that all interactions with stakeholders align with the company's mission and purpose. Training leadership to practise integrity can be essential to developing integrity across the organisational ecosystem. A business that upholds integrity can stay relevant for the right reasons.

Related: How To Develop A Code Of Professional Ethics (With Examples)

3. Trustworthiness

Building trust with stakeholders is an important aspect of building a business. Trust is one of the most important assets of a business and its success is directly proportional to the level of trust that a company shares with customers and employees. Businesses can seek to develop trust through various methods. These can include building excellent products that provide value to the customer and being readily accessible for customer support. It may also include practices like being professional, enabling secure shopping experiences and displaying testimonials from customers. Building trust is an important aspect that can aid a company's long-term growth.

Related: What Is Ethical Behaviour? (With Importance And Examples)

4. Loyalty

Another factor that determines the progress of a business is the loyalty it displays in its business relationships. Employee loyalty is an important part of this. The high level of employee loyalty and trust is essential to building a successful brand. A business can foster employee loyalty through various methods, including transparency, respect, fair compensation and offering employees a safe and comfortable workplace. They can also instil it via internal marketing with efforts to instil employee commitment. Another important aspect of loyalty is customer loyalty. Companies can promote this through quality products, marketing, empathy and transparency with the customer.

5. Equality

Equality is one of the most important business ethics many organisations stand by. Equality involves the inclusion of individuals with no discrimination or favouritism. Promoting equality and non-discrimination in the workplace is an important step that companies can take to build a meaningful workplace. Businesses can promote equality at the workplace by incorporating hiring methods that assess individuals from across the spectrum. Providing fair compensation across genders is another step towards building equality. In an organisation that promotes equality, employees feel more involved and respected for their talents and skills irrespective of their cultural backgrounds, genders or ethnicities.

6. Compassion

Compassion helps many businesses succeed. When companies demonstrate compassion, they indirectly build an emotional bond with the other parties, thus helping them perform optimally. Ethical companies show genuine kindness, care and compassion for the livelihood of others. When compassion is a key business ethic, the objective is to meet business goals while causing the least amount of damage. Each business decision considers the impact of those decisions on people and communities. Compassion at the workplace involves expressing genuine care, concern and respect to employees and responding to their personal and professional needs.

Related: What Is Social Responsibility and Why Is It Important?

7. Respect

Respect is an important value upon which many successful businesses thrive. Businesses can show their respect to customers by being more honest and transparent about their services and products. Responding in a timely manner to customer queries and concerns can demonstrate true respect and care. In the workplace, businesses can promote respect by being considerate towards the needs of every employee and demonstrating transparency and open communication. When employees feel respected, it inspires them to give their best at the workplace. It takes a long time to earn the trust of stakeholders and customers, and considerable effort to maintain it.

Related: What Is Corporate Culture? (Definition And Different Types)

8. Excellence

Building a culture of excellence is a great example of business ethics. Constantly putting in efforts to outsmart competitors and an endeavour to deliver only the best results can contribute to the success of the company in the long run. To ensure that businesses provide the best experiences to customers, it is essential to have a happy, inspired and motivated workforce. Engaging with employees for feedback and concerns, and open communication about personal and professional aspirations, can keep employees satisfied and motivated to give their best. Companies can foster excellence by hiring competent and able talents for the organisation.

9. Responsibility

Companies with high ethical standards recognise their responsibilities towards stakeholders, employees and customers. They understand the impact of their actions. These companies make efforts to conduct the business in line with their mission and vision. They take logical and practical decisions that benefit everyone in the long run. Companies understand their moral obligations and duties to other people and try their best to fulfil them. The best way to build a culture of responsibility is to hire leadership that believes in this value. Encouraging a sense of ownership to one's role can promote a culture of responsibility in the workplace.

10. Accountability

Promoting a culture of accountability at the workplace can help companies get the best out of every employee. When employees perform to the best of their abilities, the company can deliver better results to the customers. Companies can promote accountability with open communication and proper goal setting. Setting clear expectations and having employees define their own roles and responsibilities can be good place to begin for a culture of accountability. Align daily responsibilities with growth and learning sessions to help employees make progress and understand their work better. Also, recognise and appreciate individual accomplishments and successes across the organisation.

11. Reputation upholding

While creating a positive reputation in the industry is important for any business, it is even more important to uphold that reputation. Upholding reputation takes considerable effort and energy and is an important aspect on which businesses may require focusing. Maintaining a positive reputation involves building an inspiring work culture, keeping investors engaged and upholding the quality of products and services to customers. A company can conduct its functions in an uplifting way and ensure that business decisions or actions do not undermine the company's reputation. Necessary steps can be taken regularly to strengthen reputation and build goodwill with stakeholders.

Related: Human Relations Skills (With Definition And Examples)

12. Lawfulness

An ethical company puts in regular efforts to abide by all legal regulations and obligations required for business continuity. These obligations may include things like taxes, employment and labour laws and worker safety. When a company works within the boundaries of a legal system, it can acquire trust and credibility. This can also enforce a strong positive reputation that can help a company build good relationships with customers and other stakeholders. Ensuring that a business is legally compliant keeps it in good standing and gives the business enough time to focus on its primary goals.

Advantages Of Business Ethics

Ethical conduct in business can provide multifold advantages to both the business owners and the consumers. Conducting business ethically can help with:

  • Ensuring smooth legal operations

  • Building trust between business owners and consumers

  • Appealing to shareholders

  • Attracting high performance talent

Related: 13 Types Of Business Needs To Improve Business Operations

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