What do you do when faced with work situations that challenge your ethics? Your responses will not only affect your peace of mind but also show whether your career is at risk, says Devashish Chakravarty
Every day at work will call for decisions and actions from you. Most of them will be responses to rou tine situations. A few will chal lenge your values and ethics. Here are such situations that you may face.
You have accepted a good job offer with another firm. When you put in your resignation, your employer asks you to stay back and makes a counter offer. Having given your word to the new employer you are unsure of the next step. Know that your reputation will be harmed if you back out now. If you stay back, your employer will mark you as a person who will leave soon and make you dispensable. If you are planning to negotiate with your current employer, discuss the offer with your boss before you convey your acceptance to the new employer.
You are an analyst who has slogged alone for hours to create an outstanding report. However, your senior team mate or supervisor hogs the credit. Typically this is unacceptable in any organisation. For a senior colleague, ask for a meeting with your boss and show the evidence. You will get an apology and negative vibes subsequently. If the culprit is your boss, check whether your efforts will be recognised at increment or promotion time. If not, consider taking it up with management to get just recognition. Seek to be reassigned to another team.
Easy way out
You are a salesman missing your annual target. This will affect your bonus promotion.You know you can push a favourite client to drop an ambiguous email confirming next quarter’s purchase in advance which you can claim as an order closed this year. However, if the client is unable to keep his word, it will affect your chain of command and you will pay the heaviest price. Make sure that you have your team or boss’s sign off.
Your boss has asked you to pay a bribe and submit false travel bills to claim it back. You will be miserable if this goes against your ethicsvalues. When such actions are discovered, the consequences are severe for everyone involved even if they were simply following orders. Instead of complete deference, share with your boss that perhaps you are not the right person for this task. Your boss will probably back off.
Personal stuff, company time
Are you using the company-paid telephone for long distance personal calls? Or using office internet to view popular videos? Personal stuff during office hours or using office resources is unethical since both your time and the resources are paid for by the employer.Know that your internet usage is recorded and your office cell has detailed call records.Your employer may turn a blind eye until things turn sour or it’s time for the appraisal.
Your team leader has alcohol on his breath.Your colleague is harassing the new intern who is too scared to take a stand. As an unwilling and uncomfortable witness to unethical behaviour, should you turn a blind eye or take up the matter? Ideally, you will share the matter with a supervisor or the HR. If you are concerned that this action will label you as a trouble-maker, then you are in the wrong organisation. In such cases, raise the issue with colleagues and express your discomfort. The matter will invariably escalate to the right level as the discussion gathers steam.
Right vs right
The toughest ethical dilemmas are when you are forced to choose between alternatives with competing ethical values. You have been tasked to fire two colleagues for underperformance and you want to give one of them an extra chance because he is the sole bread-earner for his family. Fairness requires both to be treated equally. Compassion urges you to help one individual. The correct solution is to check if the company is willing to sponsor a compassionate stance over a fair one. If not, go with employer policy and help the individual outside the workplace e.g. in finding a new source of income.
Your employer expects you to take the office laptop home to complete work. But unless stated, it does not mean that you can borrow office stationery for home use or pick free cans of Coke from the office get-together for your fridge. These actions rarely go unnoticed and you will be fired if your company is sensitive to such behaviour. Be cautious about how you treat office assets.
You have access to both employer and client information. It is often tempting to use such information while regaling friends at the bar with colourful stories. Since your employment terms and conditions forbid you to share data with people outside the company, your behaviour becomes a grave offence.Similarly be careful of the emails attachments you send, especially if you use the office laptop for personal work.
Source: Economic Times
Date: 16th February 2015