Some ethical issues in the  employer/employee relationship
Prime the pump
March 21, 2023

Some ethical issues in the employer/employee relationship

Two weeks ago, we began looking at some ethical responsibilities in the employer-employee relationship. We quoted from an article by The Josephson Institute’s Exemplary Leadership & Business Ethics, titled “Ethical Responsibilities in the Employer-Employee Relationship –Applying Ethical Principles.”

It stated that “The employer-employee relationship should not be looked at simply in economic terms. It is a significant human relationship of mutual dependency and has great impact on the people involved. A person’s job, like a person’s business, are highly valued possessions that pervasively affect the lives of the employees and their families. With stakeholders everywhere, the relationship is laden with moral responsibilities. Though the pressures of self-interest are very powerful and compelling, both workers and bosses should guide their choices by basic ethical principles including honest, candour, respect and caring.”

Today, we look at the principle of trust in the employer-employee relationship.

In a Forde article by Josèe Larocque Patton titled “The Importance Of Trust In A Leader/Employee Relationship”, Patton said, trust comes in many different shapes and forms and it starts at the onset of recruitment. Patton also said when trust is not properly established from the onset, an individual will not thrive. They very rarely will be at the level they could be; hence they will rarely exceed expectations.

Although the moral fabric of society is more worn now than twenty plus years ago when I joined the working world, leaders/employers still have an ethical responsibility to employees. Your interactions with them either act as nutrients that aid in their professional growth and development, or as weeds that choke their growth. Either way, they will long remember the impact you had on them. In the employer – employee relationship, trust is offered on credit by both parties with the expectation that it will be earned. When the employee offers his trust to the employer on credit, if the employer creates a good experience for the employee including mutual respect, performance development opportunities, regular check ins and performance management, the employer will eventually earn the employee’s trust. Similarly, when the employer offers the employee his trust on credit, if the employee acts in the best interest of the organization and delivers exemplary service to customers, he would eventually earn the employer’s trust.

In closing, I leave with you a quote from the late Maya Angelou – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” There are some experiences in my early professional career that are chalked on my memory wall that have left a strong impression on my life. These experiences have motivated me to award people with pleasant memorable experiences. As fate would have it, I have never held a position where I had the privilege of being trained by my predecessor. My predecessors were always long gone by the time I showed up. It was an honour nonetheless to be thrown in the deep with no choice but to swim. It was always an opportunity to be my authentic self from the start. I recall two months out of college, being hired as a stenographer in the Public Service. I was keenly excited to be the secretary of a Minister of government. When I reported to the ministry to take up my post, the clerk/typist who was acting in the position, cleared the desk, taking with her the diary that was left by my predecessor containing contact numbers of local, regional and international officials that the Minister and permanent secretary were frequently in touch with. Fresh out of college, the idea may have been for me to sink.

Thankfully when I expressed what had transpired to a superior, it was requested of her to return it. I used this example to say that we cannot assume that good judgement will always prevail at all levels of the organization, but if as leaders/employers we provide the channel for interns and new employees to escalate obstacles it will boost their confidence and make the addressment period much smoother.

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