Being a good person isn’t the same as being a ‘good’ business owner. Ethically speaking, what you do in your personal life could directly contradict what you should be doing in your role as a business owner. And vice versa!
- Which ethical dilemmas in business should you be focused on?
- Why is it crucial to address ethical issues in business?
- How can you resolve ethical problems in business the right way?
What are ethical issues in business?
Ethical issues in business affect a variety of aspects related to a business’s general operating standards. All personal feelings set aside, it remains a fact that current events have reshaped current ethical issues in business and, to a large degree, have increased the focus placed on ethics in the workplace.
8 Common ethical issues in business and how to address them
- Sexual Harassment
- Diversity & Discrimination
- Social Media
- Health & Safety
- Environmental Responsibility
- Accounting Practices
- Data Privacy
Discrimination in the workplace is essentially any aspect about the job itself or the duties related to it which are treated differently with respect to any of the categories listed below. Ensuring diversity and actively preventing discrimination are critical aspects of resolving ethical dilemmas in business.
Starbucks – Clustering strategy may force smaller companies out of business. There were so many Starbucks on street corners that movies like Best In Show made fun of how there might be one Starbucks right across the street from another. Check out Starbucks’ Code of Ethics for CEO and Financial Leaders.
What can your business do about ethical issues related to social media?
Addressing ethical problems in business connected to social media can be tricky mainly because most situations will fall in the gray area. To help eliminate confusion or disclarity for you and your employees, the best step to take is to create a set of rules and policies that clearly describe what is (and isn’t) acceptable for employees to do on social media.
What can your business do about health & safety?
There’s been plenty of research done on the topic of combating ethical problems in business related to workplace health & safety. The World Health Organization has gathered data to develop some fundamental advice on how to promote safety and health in the workplace:
- Regularly inspect your workplace for any potential hazards
- Train your employees so they’re educated on safety protocols
- Promote healthy living (stock kitchens with healthy snacks & drinks)
- Inform employees that help is available
- Recognize and reward hard work
- Create opportunities for employees to grow
- Hold periodic meetings with employees to understand their needs
Be and do your best
Ethical problems in business are something that most if not all owners will encounter at some point in their career. Even if you take all of the necessary precautions and follow the recommended steps, you should always stay prepared to handle ethical dilemmas in business in an appropriate and productive manner. When problems arise, use them as opportunities to learn as an owner and to build a better, fairer, and more ethical business.