As a leader, HR training can be useful in teaching you how to ensure ethical outcomes in the workplace. This should begin with an agreement between leaders and all team members that pledges to act in an ethical manner at all times. The agreement should also mention the importance of making sure team members always discuss issues as a group, rather than breaking into factions and holding discussions separately. Team members should agree not to discuss group items outside of the group. If a leader does not put this into the agreement, there is a greater chance that the group will disintegrate. In cases where people don't follow the agreement and will not adjust to more ethical practices, the leader should replace the person and take the person off of the team. This will show the team the importance of the agreement, of ethical behavior, and ensure an ethical workplace environment.
In HR training leaders learn how to set an example for team members by being the role model and displaying ethical behavior at all times. However, in cases where the team leader is not behaving ethically or with integrity, any team members who notice this should speak up. To approach the issue in the best manner possible, the team member should pull the leader aside and explain that they don't think the leader is operating or acting appropriately. It would be counter-productive to bring it up in a meeting, it's best to speak privately if you have to approach a leader.
If a team member needs to confront another team member for a similar issue there is a proper way to go about it. As Human Resources Training explains, when a team member feels that another team member is not acting in the most ethical fashion they should speak up. For example, if you believe that someone is not operating in the most ethical fashion, you need to be willing to talk about it in an appropriate manner. If you are upholding your end of the agreement by behaving ethically as a role model at all times, you can change what you think is wrong. When a team member isn't making the right decisions, isn't acting favorably, or says or does something you think is unethical, you can make a difference by saying something in the group meeting, respectfully. It's important to speak up, because by not speaking up about something you think is wrong, for example a racial joke, you are participating in it as well.
Sometimes the most difficult aspect of ethical practices in the workplace is determining whether an action or decision is ethical or not. According to Human Resources Training experts, there are two tests that can help to determine this. First, experts say that if you have to ask yourself whether or not a decision is ethical, there is a high likelihood that it is not ethical. HR professionals believe that most likely if you aren't sure if something is right, you probably just shouldn't do it. However, HR training suggests that employees check with the legal department of the company or their attorney first before making the decision because there is a good chance that they may be missing some important information. However, it's important to remember that even if an action is legal it still may not be ethical or fall within the ethical standards you agreed to in the agreement with your company. Lastly, you need to ask yourself if a decision is preventing you from sleeping at night. If it is, it does not pass the ethics test and you need to change it.
David Shoemaker is Vice President of Learning Solutions and Innovation at eCornell. For more information on human resources training, hr training, or eCornell, please visit http://www.eCornell.com