An ethical company becomes one with long-lasting potential. Don’t believe all the stories about “lying and cheating” business owners who game the system and get away with it. Unethical behavior eventually catches up with a crooked entrepreneur. He or she might thrive as a cheat for the short-term, but the law and, yes, the customers, do put a stop to bad behavior. Not every troubled business owner fails to toe the line out of malice. Some find themselves getting off course and making mistakes due to a lack of knowledge. Others cut corners, thinking they aren’t doing anything all that bad. Don’t fall into such traps, or your business will suffer. Here are five things to consider when trying to run an ethical business.
Treat Your Employees Well
This one practically goes without saying. Treating employees poorly does nothing but set the stage for their departure. Significant employee turnover eventually drains a company of its most valuable resource: people. The costs associated with replacing departing employees also consume budgets. Then there is another crucial matter to take into consideration. The poor treatment of employees can represent more than being called a rude boss. In some cases, the treatment results in criminal or civil actions. Follow the letter of the law when dealing with your staff. Treating your employees well and promoting ethical behavior will help to ensure that you have a successful and ethical business.
Keep Accurate Records
Terrible recordkeeping is more than sloppy. Depending upon your business, a failure to maintain accurate records can be a crime. The Internal Revenue Service certainly has rules regarding keeping files on expenses and deductions. Trouble arises when you make mistakes due to poor recordkeeping. Even when an error is not deliberate, business owners face the fallout of any result in problems. Sometimes, partners or other businesses commit illegal acts. Accurate records might serve as evidence for a defense. If your records are in poor shape, start working today on improving them. Otherwise, the snowball effect of poor record management will catch up to you.
Comply with Laws
Violating the law opens the proverbial Pandora’s box of troubles. Criminal activities arouse suspicions which, in turn, lead to investigations. When you’re guilty of a crime, investigators use their experience to figure things out. Look at all the incidents of people attempting to defraud insurance companies. The percentage of those who get away with it is low. The number of convicted felons ranks high. Eventually, people who violate the law will get caught. If an employee becomes aware of fraudulent activity at your company, they can become a protected whistleblower and expose the activity to the government. Afterward, a legal disaster may ensue. Whether you get caught or not, however, isn’t even the issue here. Violating the law is unethical, illegal, and flat out wrong.
Admit Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen. People don’t always exercise the best judgment. Sometimes, the mistakes reflect severe violations of the law. When appropriate, admitting to one’s mistakes is the best course of action. The public, generally, isn’t fond of people deflecting blame onto others. Quickly admitting to an error and working to fix it could mitigate some of the damage. Moving swiftly to admit mistakes means something. Waiting too long or dragging out the apology process undermines effectiveness. Some may assume the apology is insincere and forced when delayed. As soon as apologizing makes sense and doesn’t add to legal woes, own up to mistakes.
Work on Fixing Your Reputation
Reasons exist why reputation management services exist. They prove exceptionally helpful when the public’s perception of a business falters. Sometimes, reputation management services assist a company in performing “penance” for misdeeds. For example, the company may rely on press releases to reveal the charitable work intended to pay back the community for transgressions.
Acting ethical is vital to any business’s health. Find out where you are going wrong and change course. Otherwise, risk facing harsh consequences.
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