Organisations must plan and allocate adequate time towards staff training in business ethics in order to equip employees with skills that will help them to tackle ethical dilemmas among other ethical challenges inherent in the workplace. It is absolutely futile for organisations to continue to hold on to outdated views and myths about ethics such as believing that ethics can only be learnt through socialisation, thus depriving their employees of ethical skills impartation while at work.

Business ethics training must be embraced by all well-meaning business entities whether for-profit or not-for-profit, and must take place at all levels of the organisation. Training in ethics must include directors, managers and employees, though matching their different levels of responsibility.

Supervisors need additional training to reflect their roles and responsibilities as the front men and women who interact with employees on a basis and drive operations at shop floor level.

The enhanced training for supervisors will help them to fully appreciate their roles and responsibilities in nurturing an organisational culture in which employees can seek advice and report ethical concerns without fear or favour. There are quite a number of benefits accruing to organisations as a result of business ethics training and below are some of these positives:

  • Business ethics training in organisations provides strategic mileage, equipping staff with the skills, knowledge and understanding to anticipate ethical challenges, recognise ethical dilemmas, and make ethically sound decisions.
  • Training in business ethics provides the framework for thinking about ethical issues in the context of employees’ unique jobs and work environments. Organisations have a responsibility to impart ethical skills to staff so that they recognise ethical risks in the workplace and deal with them accordingly.
  • Ethics training motivates employees to become more productive and do more for the organisation.
  • Ethics training enables employees to practise the organisation’s values, and help them to remain focused on achieving organisational goals.
  • Ethics training enhances ethical awareness of employees and will uncover ethical concerns that relate to their individual needs as well as those of the organisation.
  • Business ethics training helps employees to reason and dialogue on ethical matters and engage in ethical decision-making. It enables employees to use good judgement in addressing issues of responsible workplace conduct including growing the confidence and courage required to make right decisions.
  • Business ethics training helps to build good employer-employee relations, and the values of trust, honesty and truthful-ness become the hallmark of such a relationship.
  • Ethics training enables employees understand how business ethics relates to all operational issues in the organisation including understanding the key role played by stakeholders.
  • Business ethics training helps to reduce staff misconduct and it deters employees from engaging in unethical business practices.
  • Ethics training provides considerable feedback to managers on the way in which the company’s reputation is perceived by outsiders.
  • Ethics training enhances employee performance and helps them to become aware of the broader objectives of the organisation which may include taking care of the needs of the community in which it does business.
  • Business ethics training reinforces an enterprise-wide sense of responsibility where issues such as customer service, quality management, fair dealing with suppliers and service providers, and proper relationships with all stakeholders become an integral element of the corporate strategy.
  • Ethics training provides an immediate solution to containing corporate damages caused by unethical business conduct.
  • Ethics training brings about positive economic benefits to the whole society.

Bradwell Mhonderwa is an Ethics Coach and Trainer with the Business Ethics Centre. Send feedback to [email protected], [email protected], or call 0772 913 875

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