Ethical values provide the moral compass by which we live our lives and make decisions – 'doing the right thing' because it’s the right thing to do.

The way we make decisions is important for organisations because the wrong decisions – or decisions which have been implemented badly – can have a significant impact on people’s lives and the reputation of organisations.

But when we make decisions based on good principles, and live by good values, we can improve the lives of others and the experiences they have at work.

'In an era of increased transparency, perceptions are that unethical behaviour is increasing. As well as role modelling ethical behaviour individually, HR is often tasked with being the ethical conscience of an organisation. As a professional, habitual ethical practice is intrinsic in decision making and navigating dilemmas.'

'Internally, establishing a culture of ethical practice improves morale and reduces risks that arise from unethical practice. On a macro level, reputable ethical practice not only contributes towards good relations with customers, but has proven to impact financial performance.'

Tina Russell, Professional Conduct Manager, CIPD

Things to start thinking about

Use these prompts to reflect on your understanding of Ethical practice and uncover areas for future professional development.

  1. When did you last undertake an ethical review of your people policies and approaches?

  2. What are the principles by which the people team makes decisions?

  3. How can you ensure ethics sits at the heart of decision-making on people issues?

  4. To what extent are your leaders seen as role-modelling ethical behaviour?