Apart from the overall morality of promoting ethical business behavior, an ethics program conveys additional value:
Cultivates teamwork and productivity – Align employee behaviors with the values promoted and demonstrated by organizational leaders. When employees feel that their personal values closely match those of the organization they are more motivated and productive. By building trust in relationships between individuals and groups, adherence to an ethical code of conduct strengthens a sense of teamwork.
Demonstrates commitment to honest business practices – Ethics programs that include training can potentially help avoid criminal acts of omission and reduce associated fines. Employees are explicitly taught to avoid illegal actions, and the reporting aspects of a program tend to detect ethical issues and violations early so they can be addressed. If an organization has clearly made an effort to operate ethically, that may serve as a mitigating factor.
Promotes personal responsibility – Ethics training instills confidence as employees learn to recognize ethical risks and deal with them appropriately. With reinforcement and encouragement, employees see the positive aspects of taking personal responsibility for their actions and decisions. This sense of personal responsibility can extend to other aspects of the business, such as cyber security awareness and regulatory compliance.