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The benefits of a work ethics training program include preparing employees for facing ethical dilemmas, guiding employees in decision making, and enforcing the importance of being ethical at work. Successful work ethics training programs reduce the number of violations and complaints since employees are more likely to notify management if they witness workers acting in an unethical manner or against the company's guidelines. Providing ethics training costs businesses in terms of time and money, but the benefits often save money in the long run. Ethical violations can result in significant fines from governments or lawsuits from affected parties.
Preparing employees for facing ethical dilemmas is one of the main benefits of work ethics training. It provides employees with a framework for decision making and an understanding of the company's expectations from them. Ethical dilemmas can vary from accepting bribes to sacrificing customer safety to meet productivity goals. Employees also will be able to more easily recognize differences between their personal ethical beliefs and those of the organization, making them more conscientious of what is the appropriate action. For instance, in some countries it is acceptable to bribe officials to get a contract, so an employee may not be aware that it is illegal in the country of the home office.
Guiding employees into making more ethical decisions is another benefit of work ethics training. Even when not faced with a large ethical dilemma, decisions requiring a solid foundation in ethics are made on a daily basis. For instance, the employee may regularly take home some office supplies without thinking of how it is costing the company. If an employee witnesses someone going against the company's ethical guidelines, he or she will know what to do and how to report the incident.
Enforcing the importance of being ethical on the job, work ethics training can help employees better understand why certain rules exist. Sometimes this knowledge helps employees to put themselves in the shoes of their employees and be more aware of the consequences of their actions. They will understand what consequences the company could face for unethical decisions, such as lawsuits, injuries to customers, or cost increases. Ethical violations can significantly hurt a company’s brand image, decrease its sales, and may result in the company having to lay off employees or close its doors permanently. Strong work ethics training programs help employees be more aware of the significance of their actions and makes them more inclined to tell management if they witness someone going against what is ethically right.