Integrity in the workplace is very important for small business owners. The way your company conducts business with the public and the way your employees represent your business matters. To improve integrity in the workplace, you must take specific actions. While most employees are honest, everyone can make mistakes, and what they feel may only be a “white lie” may be interpreted by a customer as something much more insidious.
Create a company mission statement emphasizing integrity.
Let your employees know that you are firmly committed to integrity by issuing a company mission statement that details your position. A mission statement gives employees something to stand behind and fulfill. It can help guide them toward the behavior you expect of them. An example of this type of mission statement would include phrases such as “We are committed to ethical business practices and strive to show integrity in all of our actions both within the workplace and with the public.”
Establish firm policies for handling integrity issues.
Instead of letting problems slide, develop a system for handling any unethical or questionable behavior. Use a warning type system for this unless the problem is very severe. For example, give a verbal warning first, followed by a written warning and probation, then finally termination. When a serious breach of integrity occurs, such as employee theft, or blatant dishonesty, the penalty needs to be immediate and severe, such as termination instantly without the previous steps of action taken.
Inform employees about your new company policy on integrity.
Notify all employees in writing of a company policy change. Schedule an employee meeting to further discuss the issue and answer any questions that your employees may have. Have all employees sign for and receive a copy of the new company policy on integrity.
Set an example by following the policies yourself.
If you want your company and your employees to operate with integrity, show integrity in your own daily actions as the company owner. Be honest and make sure that your actions are above reproach in all your company and personal dealings. Don’t expect others to live by policies that you would not live by yourself.
Practice swift action against dishonesty and integrity breaches.
If employees see that you are not enforcing the new company policy, they will have no reason to follow it. If breaches occur, take swift action according to the policies you have established.