Workforce Management

6 Surprising Reasons to Enhance Your Business Ethics

HR insights and tips with Jeff Havens

Hello, and welcome to another installment of HR Intervention!

Ethics is usually boring. I know when you read the word “ethics,” a little tiny piece of your soul dies. “Why do people always want me to be ethical?” I can hear you shouting. “Why can’t I just do whatever I want and plunder the world like my Viking ancestors of yore?”

Well you can if you want, but I would argue that the Vikings went extinct precisely because they were so unethical. (Although their beards have certainly back into fashion.)

More importantly, here are six reasons you should consider focusing some of your energy on improving your ethical footprint.

1. Consumers are willing to pay more for products created ethically

Have you seen the prices for ethically-produced food and soap and detergent and hair extensions? They’re crazy high! And people are happily paying for them. So be more ethical and you can steal more of their money. How’s that for a great reason to be ethical!

2. There’s nowhere to hide

The stupid internet has made it virtually impossible to get away with anything anymore. I mean, those Google people walk down our streets with 98 cameras strapped to their backs. Do you really think you’re not going to get found out?

3. Strong ethics builds consumer trust

Which in turn causes them to give you more of their money. Machiavelli would be so proud of me right now!

4. Being upfront about mistakes and problems makes for stronger relationships

Or you can hide everything from everyone until you can’t anymore and your carefully constructed house of cards explodes into little card bits. That’s what Enron did. So if you simply love courtrooms, skip this one.

5. Millennials love this stuff

Those crazy millennials with their weird idealism and desire to improve the world. They’re obviously delusional, but they’re also good at spending money…

6. Prison food is not as good as it looks

And it doesn’t really look all that good to begin with.

See? That wasn’t so painful, was it? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go set a shining example for the rest of the world. I think I’m going to start by returning this wallet I just found, if for no other reason than because it had no money in it and credit card companies have gotten really good at fraud detection.

Now that I’ve convinced you that you should enhance your business ethics, here are five strategies for putting ethics into action!

Strategies For Creating a More Ethical Work Environment

1) Let people know what decision was made and why. Because nobody likes to be kept in the dark. Except for vampires, and you don’t want to employ them (unless maybe you work at a plasma center).

2) If your client wants to do something unethical, come up with an ethical way to achieve the same goal.

3) Have a written code of conduct.

4) Give members of your team permission to express ethical concerns.

5) Tell ethical stories.

To help your business move toward more ethical actions, check out a preview of the Ethics for Everyone video series from The Jeff Havens Company:

Want to see more? Try a demo of The BizLibrary Collection here.

Jeff Havens is a speaker, author, and professional development expert who tackles leadership, generational, and professional development issues with an exceptional blend of content and entertainment. He is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal; and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business. For more information, or to bring Jeff to your next meeting, call 309-808-0884, email, or visit

Speaker, Author and Professional Development Expert