The race to make money is more heated than ever in direct response to the economic crisis caused by the lockdown last year. Corporations and SMEs seem to be more concerned with ROI than customer satisfaction, and the old argument between ethics and profits has become a daily struggle for managers.
Ethics and Profit
Ethics is a system of moral principles that guides a person or business’s behaviour or way of conducting activities. While profit is simply the net revenue generated by a business enterprise minus the cost of production.
While profit is the main motive behind any business venture, the matter of ethics will more definitely determine the long-term profitability of that venture. If you sacrifice customers’ satisfaction, excellence, and integrity for profit, you will end up losing more. Because when people do business with you, they are indirectly signifying their trust and endorsement of your services. Satisfied customers are the best form of free promotions and referrals.
An ethical business demonstrates respect for its employees by valuing opinions and treating each employee as an equal. The business shows respect for its customers by listening to feedback and assessing needs.
An ethical business respects its vendors, paying on time and utilizing fair buying practices.
What to Do
Sometimes the lines get so blurred that as a manager you get confused on which path to follow. In times like this, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the company’s mission statement and values?
- Do they align with the decision you are about to make?
- What is the company culture? Or what is the company protocol concerning matters like this?
- What is more important to the company, profit or reputation?
- If you were the customer, what would you want?
- Is there a solution that can satisfy both the client and the company without incurring unnecessary expenses?
- Do you need to consult your superior before making a decision?
- Would you be satisfied with your decision and be able to defend it later?
- Do you have proper documentation for all the processes and activities leading up to your decision?
Once you answer all these questions satisfactorily, then go ahead and make your decision. Doing what is right for the business all the time is not an easy task, it requires intelligence, corporate awareness, grit and experience. If you succeed in making the right decision, the rewards will be worth the stress.
Ethics may cost you more in production, but it will bring you more long term profit.