How to Improve Your Team’s Work Ethic

  1. Define what you consider a strong work ethic
    Not everyone thinks the same things are right or wrong, so it’s important that you sit down with fellow leadership to determine exactly what your company considers ethical or not.

This can look different for every business, based on the industry and model. For instance, one company may view punctuality as a highly important factor of work ethic, whereas another may not care when employees show up, as long as the job gets done.

And remember, every culture has different understandings of what is considered right and wrong.

  1. Establish consistent expectations
    Once you define what a strong work ethic means to you and your company, it’s time to make sure your team is well aware and on the same page.

Bring up these expectations at the hiring stage, outline them in the employee handbook, and go over in training. And don’t forget to continually assess if anyone on the team is struggling to make them a reality.

Some common expectations to establish regarding work ethic include:

Be serious about team members showing up on time, if that’s been outlined in your definition of ethics.

There are always moments in life where something happens and it’s acceptable to make an allowance, but make sure you relay to your employees the importance of arriving on time for work.

Part of a good work ethic is respecting others (coworkers as well as customers). Your employees should all maintain a high level of consideration and attentiveness to foster a good work culture.

Being dependable is the quality of being relied on to do what is expected of you, or what you say you’ll do. Everyone on your team has a job – you (and the rest of the team) should be able to depend on them to do it.

  1. Use scenarios to help your team face ethical dilemmas
    Psychologists often use scenarios to help people understand the way ethical behavior might look like out in the wild. You might use scenarios involving situations your team will likely face, or you might create general scenarios that just help them think deeper.

Try these 5 training scenarios to help improve ethics.

  1. Incentivize hard work
    There should be a clear connection between a good work ethic and solid reward.

It’s very difficult to keep up a good work ethic when you feel that there is no other incentive for doing good work other than personal pride. Not every team member is motivated (at least initially) by that.

To help motivate your employees to improve the way they work, try one of these 25 employee incentive ideas that won’t break the bank.

  1. Don’t generalize
    A common assumption is that some generations are better workers than others.

However, that’s not the case. Geography, culture, and how they were raised play a bigger role than the generation they are a part of. It’s also important to note: definitions for how work is best done aren’t the same across generations.

Essentially, each generation has different expectations and definitions, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t all capable of a good (or bad) work ethic. Don’t let generalizations color your view of your team simply because of their age. That would certainly impact your employees’ morale.