10 Ways to Develop Strong Work Ethics among Employees

6 min read
Last Updated on
10 Ways to Develop Strong Work Ethics among Employees

If there is one common trait shared by every successful person, it is their extremely strong work ethics. From Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos to Pepsico’s CEO Indra Nooyi to Apple’s Tim Cook, they have all achieved success after working incredibly hard on their way up.

Sports legends like Serena Williams, Michael Jordan achieved amazing feats in their career because of their hard work, perseverance, and discipline.

Work ethics is basically a set of moral principles or values that an employee abides by and uses in the performance of his job. It covers an employees behaviour and attitude towards their job, career and the workplace.

Good work ethics results in success. It is something we’ve been taught since our childhood. But how true is this? How is work ethic related to the productivity and success of a person?

Some of the primary elements of strong work ethic are professionalism, integrity, respect for the work and teammates, timeliness, and discipline. These value of ethics moulds a person into a more responsible and more determined individual. It impacts all the activities of their day-to-day life.

If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires – Malcolm Gladwell

Role of work ethics in the workplace is even more significant as it directly impacts the quality of the job or the output. When a person has respect for the work he/she does as well as the workplace, they naturally become more productive. They make good use of the company resources, they value time, show better performance level and hence drive the company towards success.

10 Ways How Managers Can Instil Strong Work Ethics Among Employees in a Workplace

1. Clear Goals and Objectives:

More often than not it becomes difficult for employees to complete tasks without clear goals and objectives. Employees’ work ethic also strengthens when they are fully aware of the work they are doing. Team leaders or managers should clearly explain the goals and objectives before they start new tasks. Hence, they can ensure the following points while they do it-

  • Goals should be measurable and maintain a fix time frame.
  • It should be challenging and at the same time achievable.
  • It must be well accepted by the team members before implementation.

2. Set a Good Example:

If ethics are poor at the top, that behavior is copied down through the organization. ~Robert Noyce


If you want to instil good work ethics among your team, you must lead them from the front. Until and unless you yourself (or the people at managerial level) don’t set the benchmark for your team, you can not expect to see great results. It is important to have an organizational code of conduct and ethics, but it is more important to ensure everyone in the organization abides by them.

In other words, you should always ‘Practice what you preach’. We are more likely to follow or do something which is relevant to us and has a good motive behind it. When you motivate your teams or lead them, you should always go back and forth and see if you have set a good example on the same.

3. Create the right Work Environment:

A clutter-free work environment is a doorway for clarity of thoughts and ideas. It’s a psychologically proven fact that our physical environment is directly linked to our mental wellbeing and productivity.

The aesthetics of the physical work environment differs with the size of the organization. But you can always make it safe and friendly for your employees.

Make sure your employees feel safe and don’t have to worry about a confined desk or a power cut issue. It may not seem to create much of a hurdle but the repetition of such minor issues impacts their work ethic. This shows a less responsible attitude towards the employees and their needs. Eventually, this makes the employees less responsible and caring for the work they do.

4. Professionalism:

You know a true professional by the way they talk, dress and their conduct in a workplace.

A professional person exhibits a quality of workmanship and service. Professionalism starts with trust, conduct, loyalty, discipline, and hunger for excellence. Employees with this work ethic take work wholeheartedly and strive to bring excellence in whichever position he/she is into.

They always respected for his/her conduct and no-nonsense attitude towards work. This draws the team members towards his/her vision. Managers, therefore, can promote professionalism and bring goodwill to an organization.

Managers can stimulate professionalism by-

  • Keeping one’s own word and trust.
  • Striving for excellence.
  • Being respectful, honest and transparent.
  • Acting with integrity.
  • Keeping a learning attitude.

One with professional work ethics is always well-perceived by their peers. And they always enjoy their work-life with contentment.

5. Discipline:

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment — Jim Rohn

It is one of the core elements of work-ethics and management must be very particular about this aspect. When discipline becomes part of the company culture, it will resonate from all the employees of your workforce. By creating a culture of self-discipline in the workplace, employers can have an overview of the actions and reactions of the employees in a positive way.

Discipline begins with punctuality. Managers can put special emphasis on maintaining punctuality in the organization.Punctual employees are less likely to take leaves. Also, employees who take leaves frequently are considered a burden to the organization.

Discipline helps maintain the decorum of the workplace. Would you enjoy working in an environment with constant chattering? Or can concentrate on your daily tasks with high disturbances? Thus, discipline helps team members work efficiently towards desired goals and objectives of the organization.

6. Understand your Employees’ Needs:

If want to create a highly motivated workplace you must acknowledge the needs of your employees. Employees show a high level of engagement and commitment when their needs are met. They also feel extra motivated and become more inclined towards the goals and vision of the organization.Then you must

Daniel H. Pink in his non-fiction ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’ says acknowledging the employees’ need for Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Autonomy gives the employees the freedom to self direct themselves. Mastery urges them to learn and better their skills. Purpose makes their work meaningful to them.

The author also suggests that you should pay enough “to take the issue of money off the table.’’

Therefore, understanding employees’ needs help stimulate performance and job satisfaction.

7. Proper Mentoring:

Managers should set clear goals and objectives in terms of the work ethics and code of conduct of the organization. Once that is done, you need to offer proper mentoring and training programs to groom your employees. You need to embrace your role as a teacher/ mentor and guide them in every step, especially in their initial days.

As managers, you need to use a combination of method or approaches to mentor them. Try to make the instructions or lessons interesting with the use of well-structured presentations, catchy graphics or videos. During the mentoring process, ensure to communicate with them effectively by conducting one-on-one meetings or timely team meetings.

8. A Culture of Constant Feedback:

Elon Musk rightly says, “I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

Feedback is an essential part of the communication cycle. To nurture an environment with good work ethics, constant feedback must become a part of it. Honest and constructive feedback builds a culture of much-needed continuous improvement in the organization.

Facilitate open discussions, transparent work culture, suggestions and rigorous exchange of ideas and information. Update the norms of the organization with the latest and best trends from different parts of the world.

9. Fuel their Spirits:

Like mentioned in the previous points, management plays an important role in fostering good strong work ethic among employees. Another role that manager can play in this equation is by rewarding people for showcasing good work ethics.

Human beings have an intrinsic need to thrive for appreciation. Rewarding and recognizing employees is a good practice ensure that the momentum of appreciation is maintained. It acts as a motivator in “keeping up the good work”. Employees setting good examples for others by their sound work ethics are just as deserving of recognition as your best performer. It is your responsibility to fuel their spirits and make them feel valued and appreciated.

10. Eliminate Obstacles:

Finally, to instil strong work ethics among your employees you must eliminate the hurdles in their way. Identify the key obstacles for your employees showing poor work ethics. If your employees are disengaged and demotivated at work, the chances are high that they wouldn’t be showing strong ethics at work.

Negativity in the workplace, office politics, strict hierarchy, lack of recognition, inadequate benefits can all cause lower morale in the workplace. Remember the values of ethics will only bear fruits when they come to employees intrinsically. Keeping a regular check on these factors is a top responsibility of managers.

Bottom line

Success comes from hard work, dedication, and talent. Talent alone is not enough. Therefore, one needs to have the dedication and right work ethics to bring the manifestation of success and contentment.

In a workplace, managers can help instil the above-discussed work ethics and bring a positive change in the work culture.

This article is written by Darsana Dutta and Braja Deepon Roy who are Content Marketers at Vantage Circle. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com