Creating an Ethical Culture at Work

Do you feel that your employees are beginning to have that "come what may" attitude in the office? Tired of seeing constant bickerings, complaints, and power struggles between workers? Then maybe you need to instill a revolution, an Ethical Culture revolution.

Ethical Culture is a way of life where all employees, as well as their superiors, convey positivity in order to work harmoniously with each other. It is about the essential role that ethical principles play in human relationships, that there is unquestionably right and wrong.

In order to achieve an ethical culture, love must prevail, truth must be respected, honesty esteemed, justice secured, and freedom protected. Here are some suggestions that you can apply to your workplace in order to inculcate the values to ethical culture to the employees as well as relieving workplace stress.

Never fire someone on a Friday, or any other significant day – The right way of firing an employee should be done in person, in private, and in a private space. Do not terminate a worker before the weekends or during an important holiday like birthdays or Thanksgiving, so they don’t have to "walk the gauntlet" past co-workers.

Create a harmonious atmosphere during meetings – Do not multi-task, do not interrupt what a colleague is saying, and don’t speak for more than 60 seconds at a time. Keep an open notebook in front of you when an employee is talking so you could write it down.

Keep meetings short – Limit one-hour messages to 45 minutes. In Starbucks, employees would use the extra 15 minutes to call someone they usually don’t contact every day.

Greet employees by name – Get to learn all of your employees’ names. Try spending two minutes everyday talking with a different employee about non-work topics.

Thank employees for a job well done – Make it a point to show your appreciation to your workers. For instance, slip a handwritten note into their pay envelop, or write a thank-you note on the back of your business card and leave it on their desk. You could also compliment at least three people everyday.

Have lunch with employees – Just like Cisco System’s CEO John Chambers, host a monthly hour-long birthday breakfast for any employee with a birthday that month. You could get the employees to ask you about anything.

Surprise employees with small gestures of recognition – Executives at Cigna Group push coffee carts around th office once a week, serving drinks and refreshments to their colleagues to get a chance to hear their concerns and answer their questions.

Take an employee’s job for a day – Not only you get to "go back to your roots," you could also show your employees that you don’t mind "getting down and dirty" into the office. For instance, a bank in Chicago has its executives work as bank tellers during the busy holiday season so the tellers could enjoy a day off for shopping.

Give your employees a say on things – A great and low-cost way of recognizing employees who have done a great job is to let them pick their next project or swap a task with someone else.

Celebrate unusual holidays – If possible, celebrate or have a no-work day on holidays that are not usually celebrated such as Groundhog Day, Bastille Day, winter solstice, or even Canada Day.

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