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10 Ways To Develop Strong Work Ethics Among Employees

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If there is one common trait shared by every successful person, it is their solid work ethic. 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 and Michael Jordan achieved incredible feats in their careers because of their hard work, perseverance, and discipline.

What are Work Ethics?

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

Since our childhood, we know, good work ethics leads to success. But how true is this? How is work ethic related to the productivity and success of a person?

Some of the primary elements of a strong work ethic are professionalism, integrity, respect for the work and fellow teammates, timeliness, and discipline. This value of ethics molds 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.

Work ethics in the workplace is even more significant as it directly impacts the job's quality or output. When a person has respect for the work and the workplace, they naturally become more productive. They use the company resources, value time, show better performance levels, and 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. Irrespective of talent and work experience, employees need direction. Every organization follows a definite corporate ethical culture. Therefore managers need to align them with clear goals and objectives.

Hence, they can ensure the following points while they do it-

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

2. Proper Mentoring:


The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves. ~Steven Spielberg

Managers should set clear goals and objectives regarding the organization's work ethics and code of conduct. Once that is done, you need to offer good 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 methods or approaches to mentoring them. Try to make the instructions or lessons interesting using well-structured presentations, catchy graphics, or videos. During the mentoring process, ensure effective communication by conducting one-on-one meetings or timely team meetings.

3. 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 instill good work ethics among your team, you must lead them from the front. Until and unless you (or the people at the managerial level) don't set the benchmark for your team, you can not expect to see great results. It is crucial to have an organizational code of conduct and ethics, but it is more important to ensure everyone abides. Humans perceive through their senses and act accordingly. Therefore, to ignite the light of dedication and commitment, you must be the torchbearer.

In other words, you should always 'Practice what you preach.' We are more likely to follow or do something relevant to us and have 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.

4. Create the right Work Environment:


A disorganized workspace means disorganized work habits. A sloppy work environment equals sloppy results. ~Larry Winget

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

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

Ensure 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 such minor issues' repetition impacts their work ethic. This shows a less responsible attitude towards the employees and their needs. Eventually, this makes the employees less accountable for the work they do.

5. Professionalism:


The essense of professionalism is the focus upon the work and its demands, while we are doing it, to the exclusion of all else. ~Steven Pressfiled

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

A professional person exhibits a quality of craft 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 they are into.

They always respected for their 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.

6. 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 with all your workforce employees. By instilling a culture of self-discipline
, employers can positively overview their actions and reactions.

Discipline begins with punctuality. Managers can put particular 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 you concentrate on your daily tasks with high disturbances? Thus, discipline helps team members work efficiently towards desired goals and objectives of the organization.

7. Understand your Employees’ Needs:

employee 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.

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 employees a self-direction. Mastery gives them confidence in their skills. And a sense of 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."

Also, today the need for the employees varies. What worked in the past may not work today. Work trends are changing, and so are the employees' needs. For example, working parents might expect the flexibility to fulfill personal commitments. And at the same time, a fresher would seek more training and development programs to improve their skills. And all of these directly impact the work that they do. Therefore, understanding employees' needs help stimulate performance and
job satisfaction.

8. A Culture of Constant Feedback:


Elon Musk rightly said, “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 workplace communication cycle, and hence, constant feedback plays a vital role in nurturing an environment with good work ethics. Honest and constructive feedback is essential for any organization to build a decent company culture for continuous improvement.

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:


As mentioned in the previous points, management plays a vital role in fostering a good work ethic among employees. Another part that managers can play in this equation is by rewarding people for showcasing good work ethics.

Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it. ~Tom Hopkins

Human beings have an intrinsic need to thrive for appreciation. Rewarding and recognizing is a good practice to 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 instill strong work ethics among your employees, you must eliminate the hurdles in their way. Identify the critical 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 show strong ethics at work.

Negativity in the workplace, office politics, strict hierarchy, lack of recognition, and inadequate benefits can lower workplace morale. Remember, the values of ethics will only bear fruits when they come to employees intrinsically. Do not act impatiently. Identify the factors, talk to them, and be respectful. It could be anything from internal miscommunication among team members to undefined company culture or any personal issues.

Keeping a regular check on these factors is the principal responsibility of managers.

Bottom line

Manifesting success and contentment is a continuous process; thus, one needs to have the commitment and right work ethics to achieve the same. You cannot paint the office walls with work ethic quotes and expect everyone to follow them. Initially, it may work for you. But with times, a workplace culture evolves. So you cannot follow your old dos and don'ts. You must adapt and understand the employees' pulse and create an environment where everyone can thrive together.

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

What else can we do to instill a strong sense of work ethic among employees? Do tell us in the comment section below.

This article is written by Braja Deepon Roy. He works as a Content Creator and Digital Marketer at Vantage Circle. He actively participates in the growth of corporate culture and keeps himself updated in this space. For any related queries, contact

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