Why Is Integrity an Important Work Ethic?

Poor integrity can actually increase your stress level and health risks.
Poor integrity can actually increase your stress level and health risks. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Integrity is critical for employees in 21st-century workplaces. Prominent business scandals, such as the Enron accounting scandal that led to the company's 2002 bankruptcy, have demonstrated the importance of trust between organizations and their communities. Internal communities of employees also rely on trust for successful working relationships, teamwork and an overall better performance.


Companies with honest leaders and an overall culture of integrity are more stable, explains Jon Sporleder, the founder and president of Sporleder Human Capital, in his May 2009 article "Leadership in the Workplace: The Importance of Integrity." In this environment, employees are less likely to come to work uncertain of what to expect from leaders and colleagues. This helps keep employees stay motivated to work hard because they have more faith in the connection between their jobs and company success.

Better Working Relationships

Teamwork as company trait has increased in the early 21st century. More companies use work groups to produce better ideas and better results. Employees who are not honest and transparent in their work make it difficult to facilitate trusting and effective workgroup interactions. Employees in highly accomplished work teams develop a strong chemistry with each other because they do not have to worry about whether a team member is lying or being deceptive.

Opportunities for Promotion

In a 2004 report on "The Roles of Leadership," Cornelius & Associates highlight the fact that 75 percent of companies believed trust was declining in their organizations. This was especially true of employees trusting company management. As expectations for corporate social responsibility and higher standards of integrity rise, company boards are more likely to demand high integrity from company officers and top managers. Showing your integrity as you work up in a company reduces the potential for a ceiling on your growth in the organization.

Customer Relationships

Within customer-centered organizations, integrity is especially vital for employees that service and sell to customers. Relationship selling is key to long-term viability of consumer-driven businesses in the 21st century. Sales and service employees must have genuine interest in helping prospects and customers. This includes making product and service recommendations that are to the customer's benefit, as well as helping to rectify any errors made by the company and its representatives.

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