Employees at all levels need to know why ethics and integrity are important to their organisation, and why and how incorporating ethics into their decision-making is relevant to their jobs.

Ethics training raises awareness of what is acceptable business practice and where support can be found, for example, in the code of ethics. To be truly effective, ethics training needs to go beyond a box-ticking exercise and focus on the need of the learners, their role in the organisation and their personal and professional development. It also needs to include opportunities to follow up with participants to reinforce the messages that they have received through the training sessions. 

Ethics training also aims to raise the ethical sensitivity of staff so that they know when a decision they are faced with involves an ethical choice. It can provide them with the skills for working through a situation for which the right thing to do is unclear. Some companies provide training on specific ethics challenges viewed as a risk to the business such as human rights and bribery and corruption.

Some tips for effective ethics training:

  • Consider embedding ethical challenges and standards into all training programmes in the organisation, e.g. purchasing, management, sales.
  • Ensure that all levels of staff, including the board, are trained to understand the importance of ethical values, and how to use the code of ethics to support decision-making.
  • E-learning can be a cost effective way to train a large number of staff in the shortest available time. However, face-to-face training has the biggest impact on behaviours. In-person training provides the opportunity to delve deeply into the issues and participants can share what the scenarios really mean to them. 
  • Scenarios are an effective training mechanism because they link learning to real life and the experiences of the participants. This connection is the key to creating the motivation to learn and embed the message of the training.
  • Reinforcing the messages included in the training through appropriate follow up activities is very important to ensure that they remain at the forefront of people’s minds and that they are understood correctly. This kind of reinforcement activity can take many forms, but line managers and team leaders can be an important ally to keep up the momentum and encourage conversations on ethics within their team.

Sample scenarios: what would you do?

#PandemicAndBeyond - Dilemma 6: a healthy concern
#PandemicAndBeyond - Dilemma 6: a healthy concern

In the final dilemma of our Pandemic and Beyond series, we consider the ethical implications of digital marketing techniques aimed at younger, impressionable audiences.

#PandemicAndBeyond - Dilemma 5: between the two of us
#PandemicAndBeyond - Dilemma 5: between the two of us

In the fifth dilemma of our Pandemic and Beyond series, we question what to do when a colleague warns you about possible redundancy.

#PandemicAndBeyond - Dilemma 4: facing up to social media
#PandemicAndBeyond - Dilemma 4: facing up to social media

In the fourth dilemma of our Pandemic and Beyond series, we question what to do when a colleague appears to be ignoring the rules.


Useful resources