What is the ethical issue?

Wellbeing, put simply, is about ‘how we are doing’ as individuals. It includes the physical and mental wellbeing of employees in a workplace, and signifies the importance of ensuring they are happy, healthy and motivated.

In 2015/2016, the official Labour Force Survey reported that the number of working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression reached 11.7 million. According to research by recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, 88% of professionals believe that employers have a responsibility to support and enhance employee wellbeing.

Organisations are also becoming more aware of the need to develop and embed effective employee wellbeing programmes. It is no longer adequate to simply add green plants to the office or offer weekly fruit deliveries.

Without a positive and progressive approach to mental health and wellbeing, organisations run the risk of not moving with the times. With younger generations more attuned to, and open about, mental health in the workplace, an obstructive or unhelpful approach within a company or its senior management could cause recruitment and retainment issues.

 

IBE Guidance

A summary of good practice
  • Organisations need think holistically about employee wellbeing, and develop a wellbeing strategy that goes deeper than superficial initiatives and is informed by the company’s ethical values.
  • Focus should be given to creating a culture of openness and support, which encourages employees to discuss concerns with line managers, while also providing opportunities for teamwork and enjoyment, such as sport, which creates a stronger working community.
  • A supportive tone from the top, with a formalised position on wellbeing, sends a message to employees that their welfare and happiness matters. Organisations may choose to empower and train line managers to notice signs of faltering wellbeing and initiate early intervention, as well as introducing flexible working arrangements to meet employees needs.
  • By establishing a supportive and happy culture, organisations are more likely to secure and retain the best talent. In turn, organisations can be rewarded with employees that want to uphold a culture of integrity which will prove intrinsic to the company’s long-term success.

 

Further resources

Blog

#PandemicAndBeyond - 20:20 Hindsight

In the first blog of the series, Pandemic and Beyond: the ethical issues, Mark Chambers, IBE’s Associate Director (Governance), introduces the series and reflects on the year so far.

02 September 2020

Blog

Doing business ethically in a time of coronavirus

Our Chair, Prof. David Grayson CBE discusses doing business ethically in a time of coronavirus in the latest IBE blog.

06 April 2020

Blog

Now is the right time to look at your culture

Ethical failures in business continue to happen with depressing regularity. Unfortunately, many organisations are only spurred to look at their culture and take the steps to embed ethical values at the heart of their decision making after things have gone badly wrong and customers, shareholders and colleagues have suffered as a result. 

05 February 2020

Publication type: Business ethics briefing

Business Ethics in the News 2019

This briefing provides an overview of the ethical concerns and lapses that were recorded by the IBE in its monitoring of media coverage in 2019. It gives an overview of which sectors and issues related to business ethics were most covered in the news. For 2019, we have recorded a total of 361 different stories involving lapses of companies with a UK presence.

29 January 2020

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Germany

This survey report describes the German findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

10 December 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Italy

This survey report describes the Italian findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

10 December 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work: Singapore

This survey report describes the Singapore findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with Switzerland and the UK.

23 September 2019

Blog

Why having a supportive ethical culture matters to employee wellbeing

We’ve just celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week and with estimates suggesting that nearly 13% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health issues, more organisations are becoming aware of the need to support psychological as well as physical safety.

08 July 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Canada

This survey report describes the Canadian findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with Switzerland and the UK.

26 June 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Switzerland

This survey report describes the Swiss findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average.

23 May 2019

Blog

Ethics and values are at the heart of a sustainable culture

David Grayson: I am delighted to take on the chairmanship of IBE. Ethics and values are at the heart of creating a sustainable culture.

02 April 2019

Publication type: Other

A Year In Review: Ethical Concerns and Lapses 2018

Read the IBE's annual analysis of business ethics news stories from the last year - which were the sectors and issues most in the news in 2018?

30 January 2019

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: New Zealand

This survey report describes the New Zealand findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research.

28 November 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom

This survey report describes the Australia and New Zealand findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and compares them with the findings from the UK.

27 November 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Australia

This survey report describes the Australian findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research.

27 November 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: Portugal

This survey report describes the Portugese findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

19 November 2018

Webinar

What do UK employees think about ethics at work?

16 October 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work 2018: United Kingdom

This survey report describes the UK findings of our 2018 Ethics at Work research and provides comparison with the European average from the eight countries surveyed.

13 September 2018

Publication type: Survey

Ethics at Work: 2018 Survey of Employees: Europe

Ethics at Work: 2018 survey of employees analyses the results of the survey and examines whether formal ethics programmes are effective in embedding ethical values into organisational culture and influencing behaviour.

05 July 2018

Blog

Ethics is everybody's business

How can you support large numbers of employees in multiple locations in doing the right thing? One approach is to spread a network of ethics ambassadors throughout the business – it is an excellent way to ensure that messages about ethics and conduct are communicated effectively, consistently and meaningfully to staff in multiple territories.

18 April 2018

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