Corporate business ethics training encompasses a variety of approaches and techniques, ranging from the example company leaders set for employees, to a written code of conduct, to intensive training sessions. Business ethics is not as simple as "right versus wrong," as ethical principles can differ amongst companies and economic sectors.
Business ethics are the standards an organization sets for all members, from the CEO to the entry-level worker. These standards can be represented in a code of ethics, which outlines the code of conduct that is required to be followed by all the staff when faced with an ethics issue in the work environment.
Business ethics training begins with the tone a manager or executive sets for the office. This includes both the actions of managers, as well as the direct information they provide to employees. The example set by managers, even if subtle, should create an atmosphere conducive to business ethics, including integrity, respect and accountability.
Most people acknowledge basic right from wrong, but there are many grey areas in the business world. For this reason, a written code of conduct, detailing the values expected in a given business, can be an invaluable tool.
Part of a newly hired employee's job orientation should include a code of ethics manual. A manager is responsible for ensuring that a new employee gets informed about acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the workplace. For example, if employees see nothing wrong with using the company computer for personal use, how can they be accountable if unaware of the policy?
Some companies require employees to take classes in furthering their business ethics training. This training can take place in seminars, workshops, or as on-line courses. These training programs will provide employees with the tools to identify, understand, and resolve ethical dilemmas, as they occur in the workplace.
These ethics training programs should be mandated for all employees, regardless of position, as it opens communication, provides insight into the issues experienced by the different department levels, or individuals, and shows that all are equal in terms of their responsibility to adhere to the organization's ethical policy.
Training seminars can also be conducted in-house or at an external venue. Depending on the size, a seminar can be a series of lectures, or interactive workshops, or even a combination of both. Training lectures can provide information on pre-determined topics, or they can involve small groups working on specific ethics issues or scenarios relative to their business. Training sessions that are conducted in-house can also be a combination of lectures and workshops and should include a variety of role-playing activities that represent real-life ethics scenarios for their industry.
Finally, training classes can also take place via distance learning, or on-line programs, where employees can complete these courses on their own. Although these distance-learning lessons can be customized, they do not provide the human-to-human interaction of the classroom, or seminar training models, so not all trainees may respond as expected.
The importance of business ethics training is undeniable. For most employees, it starts during their job orientation, with a code of conduct booklet, and continues with some form of in-house or seminar training. This training is further combined with the tone and example set by the managers and supervisors.
Often, companies choose to turn to formal programs, utilizing seminars, workshops and/or on-line courses, to ensure an understanding and implementation of a defined ethics code.
For more on business ethics training you could utilize the services of a training consultant, and you could contact us for further assistance regarding ethics training.