Contact us

We'd love to hear from you!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form :(

Find us

Kirk Loftin


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Don't Be a Jerk or: Ethics in the Workplace

It can be tricky sometimes to navigate the business world and stay completely ethical. Maybe you found out a piece of information no one else knows that you can use to your advantage. Maybe you don’t correct your boss’s incorrect assumption about a co-worker who’s also up for a promotion you’re trying to get. Maybe you stay on the clock after you’re done with work to answer Facebook messages. Keeping a strong sense of personal ethics is more than just not stealing from the company (which is also a no-no), it’s about being honest and doing what’s right in all aspects of business. There’s even an entire organization that exists to promote ethics in the workplace.

What Ethics Are and Why We Should Care

Ethics is, simply put, an overarching system of moral principles. Ethics (as a whole) is used to foster positive social interactions and help the world keep functioning. Of course, there are levels of right and wrong. Murdering someone is far worse than say, cutting in line to use the photocopier. But an ethical person understands that both are wrong and wouldn’t murder someone or cut them off in line at the photocopier (or murder someone for cutting them off in line at the photocopier). 

We should care about ethics because only by promoting and living by a coherent and thorough system of ethics do we have any hope of succeeding in our personal lives or in the professional world with humanity. Sampson Quain of the Houston Chronicle put it this way, “Honest, hardworking employees who are driven by principles of decency and fairness increase overall morale, improve your company’s reputation, and help ensure long-term success.” It’s not just good for you, it’s good for everyone.

What We Can Do as Individuals

Think about the golden rule. Do you like being lied to? No. Then don’t lie to other people. Do you like when people break their promises or deadlines? Then don’t break promises or miss deadlines yourself. Ethics aren’t about “getting caught,” they’re about doing the right thing. So sure, you may be able to leave a mess in the breakroom when no one is around and “get away with it,” but isn’t that a sorry thing to do for the next person that walks into the breakroom to heat up their Lean Cuisine lasagna? People like ethical people more than someone who is selfish and uncaring.

What We Can Do as Leaders

Too often, businesses treat ethics as a synonym for “employee theft.” Of course, that is a part of it, but there’s so much more to it than that. If you’re a leader and you think ethics is more about the administrative assistant checking his Twitter account and “committing time theft,” consider this: The 2013 National Business Ethics Survey found that 60% of misconduct involved someone with managerial authority. The first and most important step for leaders is to be ethical yourself. If you tell people they can’t make personal calls on company time, but have loud personal conversations on the phone in your office, you’re not going to inspire your team to do anything except put expired cream in your coffee. You have to create an ethical culture in your business/organization, and that starts with you as a leader. As Forbes recently put it, “Values are caught, not taught.” 

Also, clearly define rules and regulations. If there’s something that’s clearly not okay, make that clear in the employee handbook. Have clear, appropriate consequences for those that break the rules, including those up top. There needs to be a clear, easy-to-use system for reporting unethical behavior, that is then followed with an appropriate, swift response. Reporting needs to be anonymous (to prevent retaliation), and investigations need to occur for serious allegations. Your business cannot be successful without your employees, and your employees need to be able to feel safe and free to report wrongdoings, whether from the mailroom person or the CEO. 

Don’t Be a Jerk

A few years ago, I adopted a (rather blunt) life philosophy that sums up ethics pretty well: Don’t be a jerk. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not perfect at it (sorry), but it has helped when at a crossroads to remind myself, “hey, don’t be a jerk.” A lot of ethics boils down to just that, so you can use it as shorthand. Stealing is wrong, lying is bad, cheating people out of money is awful. Hence: don’t be a jerk (unless you’re Steve Martin in 1979, of course).

OTHER blogs

Check Out More Posts

3 Ways Those In Real Estate Can Benefit From Drone Videos & 360 VR Tours

The COVID-19 era has presented many challenges, especially in real estate. With drone videos and 360 virtual reality tours, it is possible to buy and sell homes online with ease. In this blog, we will go over the top three ways

The Top 5 Smartphone Video Production Tips You Need

Filmmaking changed forever when our phones turned into video-ready cameras. Before smartphones came standard with high-end cameras, we had to either outsource our video production or rent expensive gear.

3 Ways 3D Animation Helps Sell More Products

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how many words do you think a 3D animation of your product/service is worth?

5 Tips To Get More Comfortable Speaking In Videos

When the focus is on you, it can feel a bit intimidating if you aren't used to being in the spotlight.

How To Engage Your Audience With Video Production During COVID-19

With a good script, bit of humor, and iconic brand voice, businesses can engage with their audience via video production and build a better following.

7 simple steps to mastering the art of explainer videos (even if you have no video experience)

Explainer videos are a powerful video marketing tool for informing your clients, consumers, or shoppers about your product or service by explaining the benefits, processes, or information most relevant to them.

3 Essential Remote Work Apps for Marketers and Creatives (and some good alternatives)

When we first set up our video studio in Houston, Texas, we wanted to do it right: with apps that allow our team to work from home while still maintaining the highest quality creative in our videos. 

5 Common Video Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

With ever-shrinking attention spans and hundreds of hours of free video uploaded every minute,

Four Tips for Writing Your Own Video Script

Writing your own script can be a bit daunting, but having the skills to map out your story with text as well as visuals will serve you time after time.

How the Coronavirus Affects Houston

By now, you’re probably sick of hearing about COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As a major port and metropolitan area, Houston is no exception to the spread.

Why Your Videos Aren't Getting More Views

You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating an amazing video. You know it’s great, and now you need the world to know it’s great.

Three Tips for Elevating Your Motion Graphics Video

If we know one thing to be true about freelance and small-business life, it’s sharing is caring. Proppingup your creative community with tips and tricks is one way we support each other and keep ideas fresh.

Best Houston Events for Marketers

A great rule of thumb in marketing (and life) is to double-down on what’s working and cut out everything else.

6 Simple Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Presence With Video 

Why LinkedIn? As a fellow human being living in 2020, chances are you’re “on LinkedIn.”Like Dolly Parton, you’re also probably trying your darndest to put your best face forward. 

5 Storytelling Tips from Behind the Camera

Every video tells a story. Whether your video project is a 30 second commercial or the latest Hollywood epic...

How Motion Graphics Can Take Your Videos to the Next Level

Motion Graphics are one of the best ways to take your video project to the next level. You see motion graphics in almost every high-end video...

6 Ways To Get the Most Out of Your Newly Crafted Video

Video production is exciting and fun because you have an opportunity to bring your brand to life like never before. Your website, newsletters, and flyers are all important pieces of marketing material, but...

3 Signs It’s Time To Turn To a Professional Video Production Company

We live in a time where just about every business owner has a smartphone in their pocket. Most smartphones have cameras that can capture videos...

The Five Elements You Need to Make a Professional Video

We’ve all seen videos that should have been professional, but something didn’t quite work right. It can be difficult to pin down just what makes a video stand above the rest.

The One Thing Everyone Needs to Know Before Starting Video

There's one thing that everyone should know, but almost no one talks about, when it comes to starting a video project. Long before you buy expensive videography equipment...