Most of us have heard the term before, but what is the meaning of integrity in the workplace? What does workplace integrity look like in practice?
Integrity in the workplace comes in many forms, but above all refers to having upstanding character traits and work ethics including sound judgement, honesty, dependability, and loyalty.
A well-known definition is: Integrity is doing the right thing (through your words, actions and beliefs) when no one is watching.
Having a high degree of integrity at work means that:
- You are trustworthy and reliable
- You practice and encourage open and honest communication
- You are responsible for your actions
Ultimately, integrity is based on values rather than personal gain.
Therefore, maintaining integrity in a work setting is crucial for employees at all levels, but especially as you continue to move up the ladder.
Having integrity helps foster an open and positive work environment and an ethical approach to decision-making.
Not only is workplace integrity beneficial to businesses, but it is also beneficial to the individual.
By showing that you are an honest and dependable person, you’ll gain respect and trust from your peers and managers, which can also play a big part in your career growth, progression and overall success.
How to demonstrate integrity in the workplace
Respect and follow company policies – Workplace policies are created to guide you on best practices for everything from conduct to dress code. Following your company policy enables you to make informed decisions based on the business’ values and objectives.
Be ready to work – Many of us know people who are willing to delegate but hesitant to get their hands dirty. Employees with integrity, on the other hand, are willing to go above and beyond with their own work and help others out if the situation calls for it.
Lead by example – Your working style and attitude towards others will help set a solid foundation for what you value most in others, especially people who report to you. Working to a high standard and maintaining professional conduct encourages others to follow suit.
Respect others’ opinions, even if you don’t agree with them – No matter how great your working environment may be, chances are there will be times when you simply don’t agree with someone else’s opinion. In these cases, it’s still important to be respectful, listen, and take on board what the other person is saying.
Be accountable for your mistakes – Everybody makes mistakes from time to time. Owning up to and being accountable for your mistakes demonstrates that you’re honest and open to constructive feedback – both traits that are common to people with a high degree of workplace integrity.
Examples of integrity in the workplace
Here are some examples of what integrity could look like in the workplace:
- John missed a deadline for an important project due to two of his team members not delivering what was expected. Instead of blaming his team members, John took responsibility for the missed deadline, making sure to provide further training and change the process to prevent missed deadlines from occurring again.
- Susan and her peer Steve were discussing how to allocate their marketing budget for the upcoming quarter. Steve suggested that they put a large chunk of the budget towards a major marketing campaign at the start of the quarter. Although Susan decided they wouldn’t be able to execute it so soon, she earmarked Steve’s campaign idea for the following quarter so that they would have enough time to prepare and execute it further down the track.
- Julie met with Brian, who she managed directly, for their fortnightly catch-up. Brian relayed that he was struggling to stay on top of his workload due to having to attend several meetings a day. Julie implemented a new process within her team to keep meetings to 30 minutes or less wherever possible and follow an agenda. She also set up a group online chat functionality so that team members could communicate more quickly and easily.