Ethics are something everyone agrees, in principal, are very important in life. However, have you ever stopped and wondered whether this is true in theory, but not in practice? Is there an ethics statement posted anywhere at your job or classroom? Has anyone ever been brought up on ethics violation? Have you ever seen your manager, a politician, or classmate look the other way over an ethical breach... or has one of these people themselves done something not completely ethical?
These and many other questions, situations, or conditions are why an organization needs to put into action what it may (or may not) state in words. But before the organization can enforce acceptable ethical standards, you need to know where the organization stands as a whole, what managers think and how they act, and how employees perceive ethics and how they act as a result. Get a snapshot of where you are now so you can compare that to where you are a year or two years from now.
Ethics are important for:
- Individuals - have you examined your own ethical beliefs and actions? Do you live by a set of ethical standards or not?
- Business - does business adhere to the same ethical standards as the rest of society? Should management do what's best for itself, for its employees, or for the community?
- Government - by what standards do politicians and bureaucrats operate? Do they operate in the best interest of the citizens, the voters, special interests, or the law?
Some examples of ethics surveys include:
- Government Ethics surveys review whether or not government workers follow the ethical guidelines of the state or federal government, whether or not politicians act in our best interest, if environmental ethics are followed, whether or not whistleblowers are protected, and more.
- Culture of Ethics surveys look at the organization as a whole to determine whether or not management and employees have a firm understanding of what the organization believes and whether it upholds its ethical claims.
- Management Ethics surveys are a simple question/response survey that pose various business and management decisions and interactions with customers, partners, and competitors with the goal of determining what they would do in a given situation.
- Employee Ethics surveys are similar to management surveys but geared more toward how they work with other employees, how they manage their time, and how they manage other factors such as office supplies.
- Student Ethics surveys look at whether students at any grade level act in an ethical way. For example, if they would lie or cheat on a test, whether they think it is ok to lie and cheat to get ahead in life, whether they feel their professors are ethical, and so forth.
Ethics surveys can be posted to an organization's web server or distributed as paper-based scannable forms. SurveyTracker is a great tool to aggregate the results so you can generate reports that measure the ethics of your employees.