The Standards of Business Ethics
Business ethics aren't limited to the practice of a business by owners. It includes business ethics as applied to company policies.
How important are business ethics? Clearly, the significance of operating a business ethically as opposed to employing less than stellar practices is proven by the present enormous loss of public trust regarding several major US corporations. It is ultimately important to use business ethics as the basis for daily operation of business without question or reservation. In businesses where this is not the case, the first line of lost trust is with employees. Whenever employers seek to cut corners solely for the purpose of personal gain, employees' trust in their employers begins to erode, causing a sense of disrespect as well as mistrust. This results in lack of employee business ethics. Generally, one follows the other in a business situation. The standards in business ethics are simple and untethered: Practice business with integrity and a deep respect for the rights of others, whether they are employees, business partners and associates, or clientele.
Taking Advantage of Loopholes
Too often, when a single loophole can be found in any contract or business operation, the business owner believes he/she is merely taking advantage of a business windfall. No erosion of business ethics is seen in taking advantage of an unexpected loophole. When these types of loopholes are a regular part of daily business, the principals involved believe they are merely taking advantage of an opportunity, when in fact, they are simply taking advantage. Doing this too often begins impact a company's business ethics, until they become fuzzy, vague or insignificant. What results is a quagmire of loopholes that network into a constant stream of "advantages", perhaps not originally intended.
Like the proverbial spiderweb, the business owner begins to trap himself in the illusion that loopholes have no consequences. For every loophole a exploits, there is a reaction - this can expand until you see a ripple effect throughout the company. The most intelligent business owners often forget that nothing is free; the policy of exploiting situations of questionable morality comes with a high price tag. Once a business begins to cease to use business ethics, employees receive this with lack of motivation and productivity as well as dishonesty.
Set Forth The Use of Business Ethics
Establish company policy. Provide copies of the policy to all employees. The policy isn't a mandate; it's a mutual contract to be followed by employer and employees. Setting company policy helps avoid future difficulties which may arise in business relations. You can learn how to set up these policies by taking an online class in business ethics.