One thing that is often neglected on the job, even by highly skilled workers: good work ethics.
Two forklift drivers have been known to cruise around the warehouse excessively when work is slow or after all other workers have gone home. They love speeding around and driving recklessly.
Some women use their office computers to shop on Amazon on their lunch breaks.
A department head has been caught stealing supplies and tools when accessing the building late at night.
Four employees are overheard by their boss as they say demeaning things about the company they work for.
Do these situations sound familiar? These kind of things have been known to go on at work all the time. Even highly skilled workers are guilty of such actions. Some people are apt to do anything they think they can get away with.
Remember, an opportune position with your employer is won by many good acts, but lost by only one. Likewise, this takes many years to earn it, but just a matter of seconds to lose it. Losing a job because of a reckless move is never pleasant. Nor can you apologize for doing something you should have known was wrong to begin with. And it makes finding a new job even more difficult. It’s just common sense.
Some say common sense isn’t always so common. Do you agree? Still, bosses assume that everyone in the workplace has basic common sense. Every worker must use good judgement and mature discretion as they decide which actions they want to carry out while on the job.
This blog post is written mainly for newbies in the workforce. Those who have little or no previous job experience tend to lack good work ethics. As for those who work in managerial positions or higher, I don’t believe I can tell them anything they don’t already know. But I’m going to share with all my readers things I wish I knew as I began working.
What Is Good Work Ethics?
To understand appropriate job behavior and why it’s important, we must first define the term, work ethics. Work ethics is like an overall analysis of how a worker conducts him or herself on the job. It acts like the sum of one’s attitude, actions, behavior, beliefs, and moral values that are practiced on the job. Furthermore, it means one’s degree of professionalism and willingness to be a significant part of the company’s staff.
In this article I will express the true meaning of good work ethics. After reading this you will understand why it’s important to:
- respect the company you work for.
- behave appropriately on the job.
- follow company rules and guidelines.
- become a proficient team player.
- keep on your boss’s good side.
- don’t take your employer for granted.
And now let’s go over the six areas of good work ethics.
Respect the Company You Work For
All too often I hear people talk down the company they work for. They see it as inferior in comparison to its competitors. Employees typically have a low self-esteem and dislike their work or the people they work with, so some become chronic complainers. They feel they could be earning more working elsewhere, but of course, changing jobs is easier said than done, so they decide to just stay put. Workers often get negative impressions of their employer by talk that occurs on lunch breaks or private social gatherings after work.
If you despise the company you work for, it will show in your work ethics. You won’t enjoy working there and you may even find yourself talking badly about them and their staff. And if you recklessly share your feelings with colleagues, there’s a chance your adverse comments might reach the wrong party and possibly put your job in jeopardy.
It’s Not Easy Starting or Running a Company
However, it seems nobody ever considers how hard the owners of their company had to work to establish this entity. A typical business requires several individuals who devote a great amount of time, resources, and funds to make it run. They put in long, hard hours and make painful sacrifices. Once they decide what products or services to provide they can only hope they’ll be profitable. Meanwhile, there are numerous federal and state laws they must comply with and even more once they hire on workers. At the same time they must generate enough revenue to pay for all operating costs, employees’ salaries, benefits, etc, etc, etc, and still have a profit leftover.
Apparently, businesses vary in size and profitability. Each entity has serves it’s own unique purpose, whether they serve the general public or other companies. Just like each individual has his or her standards they live by, each company has its own level of quality. Some operate out of multiple nice, elaborate buildings while others work out of a single old, rundown rented unit.
Handling Issues with Your Employer
So, as long as you have a job that’s secure with a company that appears to be stable, you make a significant contribution to their well-being. Granted, no company decides to be a “whole in the wall” place that is on the brink of folding. Each business owner or co-owner works to the best of their ability to continue operating at a level they consider as optimum. Hence, you must either accept the place you work for as it is or find a job at another place to your liking.
As for the people who scorn the company they work for, they often hang out together after work and talk about co-workers and the management team behind their backs. Name dropping occurs and rumors can even be started. All who agree, love to get together and gossip, Some may even do it in the break room at work. Although seemingly fun, this is dangerous, especially if your boss is in earshot and hears comments being made.
On the other hand, issues or disagreements can be handle more constructively. Say, you’re not happy with things going on in the workplace, you can arrange private meetings with your boss. While suggestions and feedback are always welcome, don’t be disappointed if nothing changes. There may be reasons for how things are done and your ideas may not seem feasible to them.
Behave Appropriately On the Job
There’s one thing the vast majority of workers don’t seem to realize, especially young workers. Their work ethics greatly affect the overall success of their employer, perhaps much more than they’ll ever know.
Once You Punch In, You Are Being Paid for Everything You Do
Realize, once you punch in on the timeclock, you’re getting paid for everything you do. Therefore, your boss expects you to work and nothing else. Your work output is extremely important and your duties need to be completed in a timely manner. What you produce is needed by co-workers who work downwind from you and/or helps complete the final product the customer receives.
This is a time to put your outside life issues aside and focus mainly on your work. You are expected to work with a team playing attitude as you strive to do your job the very best you can. If your work is satisfactory, everyone it affects will be happy. Your boss will be pleased and so will the customers. Quality work helps to keep the company running smoother.
On the other hand, if you goof around on company time, you are still being paid for your actions. For each minute you spend doing something counter-productive, that’s one minute where nothing is getting done. A few unproductive minutes on the clock have petty effects on production, however, if too many workers fool around, it adds up. The more total counter-productive time spent among employees, the more company profits are reduced.
Keep Counter Productive Behavior At a Minimum
Still, absolutely nobody’s exhibits 100% perfect behavior at work, no matter what level they work on. Some days we become tired, unhappy, or feel “under the weather” while on the clock. Work flow isn’t always constant and consistent. For example, machines break down, supplies run out, or other unforeseen events occur that cause operations to slow down or even stop. When work demand becomes slack, everyone, at one time or another has the urge to mingle with other workers, surf the internet, or take time out to take care of personal matters.
Hence, counter-productive time is inevitable and impossible to totally eliminate. After all, we’re only human and working day in and day out slowly drains each of us both mentally and physically. Being required to work more than eight hours a day takes a toll on our work ethics.
Avoid Horseplay At All Costs
Horseplay on the job is often harmful. Not only is it counter-productive, but can lead to damage to company property or personal injury. Thus, we’re expected to exhibit mature behavior and use equipment for its intended purpose and for nothing else. For example, playing around with forklifts can cause damage to goods or hurt people who aren’t trained to operate them.
Follow Company Guidelines
Nobody likes rules, Still we need them to ensure that our employer will be able to continuously operate profitably and that conditions in the workplace will be as safe and tolerable as possible. Thus, no matter where we work, the company will have its own set of rules and policies that its employees are expected to follow.
Typical company guidelines are established in areas as:
- conduct of behavior on the job.
- dress code.
- setting and following of work schedules including sick and vacation time.
- treating customers and clients professionally.
- meeting job performance requirements.
- keeping the workplace environment safe.
- proper handling of equipment, supplies, and merchandise.
As an employee, you are expected be aware of all the rules in the company handbook and follow them accordingly. They were established for a reason and rather fighting or ignoring rules you disagree with, you must understand why they exist. Even if your boss really likes you and your work performance is great, any serious violation one or more rules can cause you to lose your job.
And if your boss sees that you broke a rule, they are likely to think you don’t respect your employer or give a hoot about them personally. This could put your job security on shaky ground.
Your Employer Has Laws to Follow and Expects the Same from You
Also, you must realize that your employer has federal and state rules to comply with. Before they could establish their location, they had city codes to abide by. As they manufacture goods, they have laws as to how safe their products must be and rules that restrict them from polluting the environment. Meanwhile, there are a countless number of laws they must follow when hiring employees including pay, healthcare, benefits, compensation pay, safe working conditions, etc.
In order for the firm you work for to follow its rules, they may need your cooperation. And the legal obligations they face just by hiring you on are much greater than you may realize. Thus, the company’s policies and guidelines as listed in its handbook are heavily based on the laws and regulations they must follow. If they fail to follow one or more, they may get sued or be faced with fines.
So, it’s crucial that you must help them out any way you can to keep help keep them operating. Remember, one serious violation on your part may put them in jeopardy.
Whatever you do, never deny the significance of any rule. Too many people tend to assume that some rules are not so important and violate them. Many don’t seem to understand why they were written to begin with. They’ll just break a rule and assume, it’s no big deal. Don’t be one of them. It’s not worth the risk.
Become an Effective Team Player
Think of your employer like a chain. A chain has many links and each represents an employee. It’s been said “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” Thus, if the chain is under high tension, where do you think it will snap first?
Each Team Member Is of Equal Importance
Or in other words, each worker is like a spoke in the company wheel. Spokes help support the weight put on the wheel as well as help keep it round and stable. Everyone in each department is expected to do their job to the best of their ability and not make waves. That means you must turn out flawless work since the quality work is needed by colleagues who handle it and/or effects the final product the customer receives.
If and when problems arise, everyone on your team must find ways to solve them Sometimes there will needs to change the way a department operates. Rather than becoming upset when things go bad, the work team must get together and pool their ideas to find solutions.
Still, some people tend to get upset. Nobody likes change in their work routine and so they try to put the blame for the problems on others. When confronted with a problem, some will say things like “It’s not my job.” Fighting among workers never really solves anything. It just chews up time and delays work from getting done. And rarely ever does making excuses work.
Being an effective team player means:
- showing up on time and having good attendance.
- communicates effectively.
- accepting responsibility for the things you do.
- handling criticism rationally rather than getting offended.
- working efficiently without causing uproars in your department.
- seeking out solutions to problems.
Team Members Must Be Willing to Adapt to Change
Quite often, HR advertises for workers that are willing to accept challenge. Some employees just prefer to stick with the duties originally given them. They don’t want to be bothered by problems they never dealt with before. Real team players not only fulfill their basic duties, but also are willing to challenge themselves to task outside their job scope. Yes, there’ll be difficulties, but working past them will make them stronger workers.
After all, nothing’s written in stone as to how a business operates. The owners and upper management may tend to do things they way they’ve always been done, because that always seemed to work. Still, they’re not always right and shouldn’t be thought of as god-like figures. As long as business climate and the marketplace change, each company must change accordingly to stay competitive.
Thus, there must be a constant flow of communication throughout the company. Creative employees who are perceptive to things going on in their line of business can come up with valuable suggestions to improve operations or sales. These can be things that nobody in management ever thought of. That’s where a good team player comes in.
Keep On Your Boss’s Good Side
Your boss is your boss and he’s/she’s the one responsible for you working there. Therefore, you must earn their validation. By everything you’ve shown them so far, they have a perception of what kind of person you are. Not only do they value your character, but the contribution you make to the company itself. So if you truly value your job and want to stay with company as long as you can, you want them to see you in a favorable light.
An employee-boss relationship can be a highly sensitive one. You might not be totally fond of everything about the person, or vice-versa, but you’re not out to be friends. Their job is strictly to supervise you and monitor your work. Your job is to work up to their expectations.
Don’t Be Friends With Your Boss
Of course, I’m not saying to kiss their ass. It’s just not advisable to be their friend or spend a lot of time together outside of work. Once bosses and employees become friends, personal traits of each tend to get in the other’s way. The relationship becomes casual and the work moral between the both may start to slump. Especially if you both drink. Work quality may decline as well.
Earn a Reputation As a Quality Employee
You want keep your boss happy and show and be a valuable addition to your department. You want them to know you’re honest and can be trusted unsupervised. As long as you do, you have good assurance that your job will be secure. In the event a position above you opens up, he/she may consider you for promotion. On the other hand, should the company downsize, the likelihood of you being let go will be minimal.
And by all means, stay out of trouble. If you should get yelled at for making a mistake on the job, you’re only human. Show them how you prevent that same thing from happening again. On the other hand, if you are reprimanded for bad behavior or a dishonest act such as employee theft, this will leave a bad mark on your reputation, no matter how well you work.
Don’t Take Your Employer for Granted
Way too many people take the company they work for for granted, especially young workers. Some think of companies (especially large ones) as humungous creatures that are virtually indestructible. It seems like they’ve been around forever and they’ll have an infinite existence.
First Impressions of Your Employer Aren’t Always Right
Large corporations usually operate in newer, fancy, huge buildings with many amenities. Many businesses have been around for several decades and their names are well-known icons. Even less known firms may be large and appear to be doing well and seem like good places to work for. Yet others may rent large spaces within huge developments. No doubt, individuals are often impressed by what they see from the very first time they walk in the door.
Even small companies can leave favorable impressions on job seekers. If the applicant likes what he/she sees, they may decide to accept a job there. Outsiders tend to judge a company by how it strikes them the very first time they walk in the door. People love companies that are clean and look like they’ve been newly renovated and seem like pleasant environments to be in. As for businesses, first impressions are lasting.
However, regardless of the impression you formed when you first applied for your job, your employer may not be as well run or as stable as they seem. No matter their size, you must think of them like a boat on the ocean rather than an immovable land object. In other words, the boat will rock if turbulence comes about.
No Company Is Guaranteed to Last Forever
No company is guaranteed to always reap in giant profits and live on forever. Still, employees often think of themselves as small “pee-ons” that slave their lives away just to help make some big shots rich. People with this kind of attitude are not so likely to have good work ethics. They must realize that they serve an important part of the company’s operations, one this employer can’t go on without.
Large or small, every business must continuously manage their operations carefully if they want to survive. Their main goal is to keep expenses down and maximize profits. Likewise, they must keep sales up. There are numerous conditions that can affect a company’s stability such as taxes, the economy, and changes in the marketplace to name a few. Just because a certain business is doing extremely well today, doesn’t mean its management can sit back, close their eyes, and let it coast for years to come.
You Alone Can Hurt Your Employer’s Bottom Line
That is one reason why employees are expected to follow company policies. Generally workers are prohibited from:
- stealing supplies, tools, or merchandise.
- using company equipment for personal uses.
- missing excessive days from work.
- engaging in counter-productive activities on the job.
- embezzling money from the company.
- using sensitive private info to commit fraud.
- hacking into the business’s network.
- sharing private company info with outsiders.
- mistreating customers and clients.
While minor violations from a few may not hurt a company’s bottom line, many bad acts done at the same time will.
Good work ethics are extremely important for your job security and your employer’s future. To sum things up you must remember:
- Accept the company you work for as it is. As long as your job seems to be stable and will help you build your career, that’s all that matters.
- If you curse your employer, sooner or later it will reflect in your work ethics.
- Behave appropriately while at work. This means maximizing the time you spend working while minimizing counter-productive activities. Bad behavior can hurt your employer more than you may realize.
- Treat customers and clients professionally. Being rude can scare outsiders away and hurt sales.
- Follow company rules and guidelines as stated in the employee’s handbook. This makes the workplace safe and can save them from getting into legal trouble.
- Be a good team player by communicating and working with others while avoiding conflicts.
- Establish and keep a good working reputation with your boss at all times.
- Remember, your employer is not huge and immortal. They are continuously working hard and must adapt with changing economic conditions to survive.
- Nothing is written in stone when considering a company’s future. Any company can be seriously hurt or forced out of business if good work ethics aren’t enforced.
And there you have it. Good work ethics are extremely important on the job. They help to secure your future and the career you build with your employer. If there’s anything you think I missed here, please feel free to comment. What kinds of bad work ethics have you noticed from others?