Ethics are principles or morals that are imbibed within an individual or reinforced externally that help them to differentiate between right or wrong and to act according.
Ethics in human resource management indicates the treatment of employees with ordinary decency and distributive justice. It is a subset of business ethics. Human resource managers should avoid any kind of discrimination among the employees based on specific factors such as color, caste, culture, appearances, religion, employment fight etc. The ethical business contributes to the business goals as the employees will feel motivated and they will work with efficiency and effectiveness.
When employees join an organisation, they need to understand how the business operates and how they, as employees, will be expected to contribute and behave within the organisation. It is the Human Resources responsibility to come up with employee handbooks that give guidance to employees on what is right and wrong. This increases employee trust within the organisation which is important since people are an organisations most valuable resource.
Business ethics in human resource management basically deals with the affirmative moral obligations of the employer towards employees to maintain equality and equity justice. Areas of ethics in HRM include safety in the workplace, respect, fairness, privacy, basic human rights, justifiable treatment to employees and honest based processes in the workplace. The notion surrounding ethical decisions is thought of as an individual responsibility therefore once Human Resources navigates the ethical challenges of their job they will be able to effectively attract and retain a talented workforce.
The importance of ethics in human resources management is due to globalization which has affected the organizational policies to work in the world economy; the growing competition which forces the company to find the competitive advantage and increase profitability. With the increasing scope of the companies to do business at the international level, there is an increasing need to address the ethical issues dealing of human resources. The company now considers human resources as strategic importance and has considered being of competitive advantage for ethical decision-making. This is because it is imperative to ensure only appropriate information is used in decisions affecting the employment relationship.
Discrimination issues, sexual harassment and unfair employment policies can land companies in trouble with consumers, potential strategic partners, and potential future employees. The questions of how employees should be treated, how they should be paid, how they should be trained, under what conditions they should be expected to work, how hard they should work, how they should be disciplined, and how their employees should be terminated, are fundamental to HRM. These are to be answered in the code of ethics designed by the Human Resource professionals and it is the duty of the ethical HR leaders to make tough decisions.
Incorporating ethical practices in Human Resource Management and ethical values in individuals empowers an organization in maintaining and increasing trust. However, the impact of ethical violations on human resource management within an organization can be enormous. It hurt individuals, businesses, stockholders, and society. It may have an adverse influence on the human resource discipline and organization profitability. It can also negatively affect the organization's financial stability and competitive positions. Savvy, ethics-conscious business owners put comprehensive ethics programs in place to display a firm commitment to ethics in every area of business, including human resources.
A study to determine the prominence of HRM for a case organization regarding, how ethics strike it to perform in human resource management day-to-day operations more efficiently was done by Bilqees Ghani. In this study, he explains why the extensive involvement of HR in corporate ethics programs is important to the perceived fairness, and thus the likely outcomes. It is important to ensure that one of the organizational goals is to measure the effectiveness of HR in establishing ethical relations.
The most obvious finding to emerge from this study was that human resource management plays a crucial role in shaping ethical codes, policies, and procedures, also it plays a central role in conducting ethics-related activities at the workplace. It also shows that human resource professionals have the responsibility to raise organization efficiency, and employee performance and, also resolve ethical violations. The researcher has found that the case has its own code of business conduct, which has to abide by all officers, employees, contractual workers, and agents as well. Ethics concern both personal and professional levels, but at a professional level, it is highly influenced by HRM, the ethical violation can occur in any department but when it occurs in human resource department, could directly affect the whole business entity. The researcher concluded that the role of ethics is paramount in human resource management.
HR professionals can work synergistically with ethics and compliance officers to improve an organization's ethical culture.
Keithley Tongai is a Consultant intern at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
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