Ethics in business is often a major component of financial success. But, the link between ethics and economic growth in a business isn’t always an “A to B” proposition. There are always going to be other checkpoints between being ethical and being financially productive. In many cases, producing an ethical business starts with changing the culture of that business. This is a task that’s often easier said than done, but it’s certainly not impossible.
One of the ways that many businesses are fostering an ethical environment is through the use of “ethical learning.” It’s a concept borne out of the idea that the ethical choice isn’t always the first choice. But, what exactly is ethical learning?
Defining Ethical Learning
Ethical learning got its start in academia as a tool for helping college students understand situations they might face in the business world. In an educational environment, ethical learning is used as a preparative tool. Students are immersed into activities or even real-life simulations that require them to think on their toes and examine their options. They must make a decision that they feel is best for the company and is also ethical.
The same concept and practices apply to ethical learning in a professional environment. Most people (even the most qualified employees) are unlikely to have had any kind of ethical training in their careers. Training specialists can come into your business and provide hands-on business simulations and games to help foster an environment where everyone has a background in business ethics. When more people in your company are equipped with the right type of ethical training, they will be better able to handle real-life ethical questions.
How Does Ethical Learning Help?
Other than the fact that ethical learning can assist in improving the overall culture of your business, having a foundation in business ethics can be an invaluable tool. It effectively gives your staff the tools to examine every detail with an ethical and far-reaching lens. Sometimes one thing can seem like the right decision, but if you consider customers, stakeholders, and other interested parties, you might come to an entirely different conclusion.
At its core, ethical learning helps your business run more efficiently because the employees engaging in these lessons are more apt to use them and come to better and more inclusive decisions. More often than not, the games and simulations employees participate in offer a casual, enjoyable, and non-threatening experience that pays distinct dividends.
Acquiring an ethical framework isn’t something that happens magically or suddenly. It must be an idea that is planted, fostered, and set into motion. Practicing ethics has also been shown to improve everything from employee morale to the bottom line. A culture shift in your business certainly doesn’t have to happen all at once. But, it has to start somewhere, and many companies are opting for ethical learning to get that start. It’s the best way to improve the perception of your business, increase camaraderie, and truly obtain a universal culture that runs from the top down.
By Harry Price
Harry Price is a writer and artist from the south coast. He spends his spare time walking his 3 dogs along the long costal paths and draws his writing and painting inspiration from his beautiful surroundings.