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Work Ethic In Employees – How To Improve It

Work Ethic In Employees - How To Improve It

Employees having a strong work ethic is very integral to the success of businesses and hence the need to know how to improve this.

When an employee is said to have a good or strong work ethic, the employee knows the value of working hard.

Therefore, such employee is actively devoted and determined to give their his to accomplish tasks and reach set objectives.

Additionally, such an employee has the ability to focus carefully on the job he is given to do and see it to completion.

On the other hand, a poor work ethic would suffice when your employee is lazy about work.

Such an employee would do anything possible to avoid work or shift the responsibility to others.

Overall, work ethics in employees and how to improve it is such an important concept in the business world.

Hence the reason we are discussing this with you in this blog post.

Therefore, stay with us to discover all you need to know about this vital topic.

Work Ethic In Employees – How To Improve It

Employees with a strong work ethic are valuable assets to an organization.

They are trustworthy and reliable.

You can assign them tasks and responsibilities, and be rest assured that they will see it to fruition.

Also, they do not lazy around when there is work to do.

Instead, they persist for long time periods in carrying out their assigned roles.

They have the needed discipline for getting ahead in personal life and professionally.

This is because hard work and quality work input are a necessity and not an option for them.

In addition to working hard while handling their roles and assignments, employees with a strong work ethic also have strong moral values.

These are put together to make them such an indispensable part of the organization and attractive to employers.

Do you feel that certain employees in your organization do not have good work ethics and need improvement?

Let us see how to change this.

First, What Constitutes a Strong Work Ethic in Employees 

We’ve briefly touched on the meaning of work ethic in the introductory part of this article.

However, let us reiterate this so you can understand what constitutes a strong work ethic in employees.

Work ethic is the belief that work is important, morally beneficial, and virtuous.

It has also been described as the set of values a person generally holds concerning work and professional life.

These values drive and motivate the individual, in this case, the employee, to focus on work.

A strong work ethic could easily be seen in both the quantity of work done and the output quality.

Additionally, an employee possessing a good work ethic would invariably have some moral ethics or principles that guide their approach to work.

To properly and correctly ascertain if your employees need improvement in their work ethic, you need to know what really counts as a strong work ethic.

That way, when you review each of your employees and see any of these lacking, you can tell that the work ethic is poor and start working on improvements.

Here are some of those factors or indicators of a strong work ethic in employees:

(Note that these factors do not always work in isolation in determining a strong work ethic but must all be present in an employee to qualify as such).


Every structured organization has a set time for when employees are expected to check-in at work each day.

We are certain you do too.

This rule is put in place to instill discipline and a good work ethic in your employees.

One of the signs showing an employee is showing a strong work ethic is being punctual to work.

An employee with a good work ethic understands how important it is to report to work on time.

They know that habitual late-coming affects their productivity as individuals and that of their co-workers.

And by extension, it can also adversely affect the general performance of the organization.

Top-Level Professionalism

Employees who have a strong work ethic are highly professional in every area.

These areas would include how they dress, address others, and their general demeanor.

A professional employee adheres to the dress code of the organization they represent and always looks nice.

Not only that, they treat others with the utmost respect.

Additionally, one of the signs of professionalism is focused on work and refraining from damaging behaviors in the workplace.

In line with this, a professional employee who is equally one with a good work ethic does not spend quality time engaging in unproductive conversations.

They are not found in the middle of the office engaging in little talks and gossips.

Instead, they understand what they come to work for, and that is their utmost priority.


Employees with strong work ethics do not believe that they are all-knowing or can do everything alone.

Instead, they are exceptional team workers.

They believe that increased productivity and work efficiency is achieved not by personal efforts but by active collaboration.

Because of that, they are always willing to work together with their colleagues in reaching the company’s goals and objectives.

Additionally, they also do not know that all they need to do is not just what is included in their job description.

Instead, they believe in assisting their colleagues and giving their input when needed to drive productivity.

Without a doubt, teamwork is yet another identifying mark of a strong work ethic.

Hard work

If teamwork is deemed an important factor that characterizes a strong work ethic, then hard work is even more important.

Employees with a strong work ethic are not lazy when carrying out their duties at work.

They work very hard, even having to work overtime to meet deadlines and complete assigned projects.

Additionally, these employees are not known for giving flimsy excuses as to why they cannot fulfill their responsibilities.


Another indication of a strong work ethic in your employees is how reliable they are.

This quality would show in an employee in the way they handle personal assignments delegated to them.

Are they the kind of people that can be relied upon to see a project to completion with little or no supervision?

Or are your employees more likely to neglect their duties or slag when no one is watching?

Employees who have a good work ethic can always be relied upon at any time to come through for the organization.

Commitment to Quality Output 

You can equally tell if your employees have a strong work ethic from their approach to the quality of output they give.

Poor work ethic on the part of employees would involve such employees just wanting to get their work done.

These have little or no genuine concern about the quality of the work they do.

On the other hand, those with a good work ethic are very concerned about finishing a project and giving the best.

For them, quality work output is non-negotiable, and it is something they are committed to, not just completing tasks routinely.

Integrity and Trustworthiness 

In their relationship with you as the employer, their fellow employees, and even the customers, integrity shines through.

They do not say one thing and do another, neither do they rip the company off by resorting to criminal activities.

Their high moral standards are glaring for all to see, and they are precious to the organization for their great work ethic.

Good Relationship with Co-Workers

Included among the things that can make or break your business is the type of relationship existing between your employees.

Employees possessing a strong work ethic also have good interpersonal relationships with their colleagues as one of their strong points.

They are likable by their co-workers because they are not troublesome but great advocates for peace.

Additionally, they are very cooperative and do not make management processes difficult for you as the employer.

When looking for signals indicating a strong work ethic, this is one thing to look out for.

Time Management 

You know what they say about time; it is never enough.

Employees that have a good work ethic know that their duties and projects given are timebound.

Because of this, they are excellent time managers.

They do not waste a great deal of time engaging in unproductive activities while other important activities suffer.

On the contrary, they know how to utilize better the ‘short’ time they have to complete all the tasks they need to see to completion.

Even when they have many things to attend to, it is not a problem for them because they have mastered time management, which is a major component of a strong work ethic.

Productivity Level

We cannot talk about work ethic and not touch on the productivity level.

In essence, the result of all the other factors we’ve mentioned so far is increasing the level of productivity.

Therefore, while reviewing employees to ascertain their work ethic, their productivity level is another thing you shouldn’t overlook.

High productivity is a direct result of a strong work ethic.

Benefits of Improving your Employees Work Ethic

Many benefits come from ensuring employees have a strong work ethic.

These benefits are for you as the employer, the organization you run, the employees themselves, and even your customers.

When you consider them one at a time, you will see the reason why employees’ work ethic improvement should be on top of your managerial development list right away.

Here are some of the amazing benefits:

Improved Productivity 

As earlier noted, there is a direct relationship between productivity and a strong work ethic.

The relationship is such that an increase in one causes a corresponding increase in the other.

When you improve the work ethic of your employees around your workplace, you will make them more productive.

This productivity results from a combination of several factors such as hard work, teamwork, and commitment.

Increased Employee Retention 

Another benefit of having employees with a strong work ethic is that the chances of retaining them increase.

Dedication and integrity are some of the hallmarks of good work ethics, and as such, those employees are more likely to stay.

They are staying not for lack of options or alternatives.

Rather, because they believe in the organization and are committed to seeing it succeed.

Additionally, you wouldn’t have to fire such employees.

This is because they have proven to be of value to your organization.

We can’t say the same for employees who have a poor work ethic.

These employees frustrate managers and supervisors, and if changes are not made, it won’t be long before they are shown the door.

But it doesn’t have to come down to that if you can improve their work ethic.

It Makes Employee Growth Easier and Faster

Here is a benefit for both the employer and the employees alike.

Sometimes, employees complain of being in a particular position in their organization for so long.

However, when employees have a strong work ethic, growth within the organization and career advancement would be nonexistent.

As an employer, you appreciate employees with a proven excellent work ethic and want to give these added responsibilities.

Therefore, their growth process is certain and very quick at that.

It Fosters Unity Among Employees 

When you have an employee on your team who has a poor work ethic, it can upset the unity among other team members.

No employee appreciates operating at the highest level and contributing so much, while others appear to be slacking.

When this happens, it can breed frictions and internal conflicts in your organization.

On the other hand, if you improve the work ethic of all employees, unity of purpose is easier to achieve.

Everyone works on the same frequency, and the work culture is consistent across all departments.

This is because the work ethic of everyone is solid.

Reduces Customer Churn Rate and Increase Satisfaction and Retention

No one can hide a strong work ethic, not from the employer, nor fellow employees, and definitely not from customers.

When your employees’ work ethic is high, they naturally offer excellent customer service.

Resolving customer complaints is quick and efficient. 

They also have the right personality to deal effectively with customers.

As a result, the number of customers leaving your business, generally referred to as churn rate, will reduce.

This is because your customers are generally satisfied with the services they receive and are motivated to remain with you.

It Improves your Brand Reputation 

Organizations that have a strong work ethic among their employees are industry standard.

Satisfied customers are most likely going to spread good words about the moral principles in your company.

Not only that, but employees of the organization would also speak well about it.

Before long, your brand’s reputation in your industry would grow, and your power to attract both new employees and customers would increase.

How to Improve Work Ethic in Employees

As an employer or business owner, you cannot compromise to imbibe cultural values and moral principles in your employees.

If you have employees with a poor work ethic, you should know that it is not good for business.

Therefore, here are some methods that been found very effective in promoting a strong work ethic in your employees:

Recruit Employees with High Moral Standards 

Building and promoting a strong work ethic in your employees begin with the hiring process.

When recruiting new employees for your organization, focus on finding the right candidates, especially those with high moral standards.

These individuals possess the right values and attitudes, to sum up, a strong work ethic in the work environment.

Another interesting thing with such employees is that they can positively influence others who might have poor work ethics.

Before long, you will have your entire organization flooded with top-level professionals with work ethics at the premium level.

Set a Fine Example 

One of the fastest ways your employees can learn a good work ethic is by following the employer’s example.

People learn from actions faster than they do from words.

So, are you concerned about punctuality, time management, integrity, and honesty in your organization?

You need to do a proper self-examination of yourself and decide if you are really setting a fine example in this regard.

Sometimes, employees develop a poor attitude towards work because they see that management positions aren’t better.

Therefore, do not underestimate the impact your example can have on your employees.

Don’t say or expect one thing and do the opposite.

Define What Strong Work Ethic is in your Organization 

Yes, indeed, it is not absolute but relative when it comes to what is ethical.

Some organizations consider that a strong work ethic might not be so important to other organizations.

Therefore, you and other employees who make up your management team must sit together and define your organization’s strong work ethic.

That way, you can start noting down those who are measuring up and those who fall short of this and know where improvement is need.

Clearly Communicate Expectations to Employees 

Holding a meeting of executives to define what a strong work ethic is is only the first step.

You would also need to communicate and inform your employees of the decisions you reached.

If your employees are left in the dark as to what is expected of them professionally and personally, they cannot show a strong work ethic.

One way to communicate what constitutes a strong work ethic with your employees is using a structured Condition of Service (COS).

The Condition of Service would usually outline the rules and regulations guiding the workplace and let your employees know what is expected of them.

Provide Incentives/Rewards for Strong Work Ethics 

While it is true that dedication to work and a good work ethic should be a personal goal of employees, incentives also help.

When you provide incentives, such as rewards for your employees’ hard work, you are giving them the needed motivation to do more.

You do not need to worry about making them lose focus on the main reason why they should work well and hard.

Incentives give your employees an extra push.

But you can be sure that with time strong work ethics would come more naturally.

Create a Work-Life Balance for Employees 

If your employees do so much work that they hardly have time to rest or spend with their families, they will likely have low morale.

This lack of motivation eventually cascades into a poor work ethic.

To avoid this, you as an employer need to create a work schedule and structure that allows for a balance between work and personal life.

It would be great to allow time for vacations and not make the work schedule too rigid that your employees have no time to rest.

Even if you have very hardworking employees and would want to overwork themselves, you should discourage this.

A work-life balance will go a long way in improving your employees’ work ethics.

Play to your Employees’ Strength When Assigning Roles and Responsibilities 

To help employees develop a strong work ethic, you must assign roles and responsibilities commensurate with their skills and abilities.

It is important to understand that not all employees are the same, and individuals have their strengths and weaknesses.

Most times, employees underperform or become unproductive due to being placed in positions where they do not fit properly.

Due to their inability to handle such positions, they record low success and eventually become unhappy and frustrated.

Consequently affecting their work ethic.

It’s important to learn what your employees love doing and play to their strengths to ensure this does not happen.

It’s a win-win situation, as your employees are happy and motivated to work, and you also get quality output.

Make Professionalism a Top Priority 

As an employer who is committed to improving work ethics in employees, professionalism should be a priority.

In fact, you should stress every opportunity you get and make this stick in the minds of your employees.

This starts from their dressing to work and includes individual employees’ values, attitudes, and qualities.

Other qualities that you need to instill in your employees include; respect, honesty, a positive outlook, optimism, and consistency.

If you do this, you are contributing some of the major ingredients of a strong work ethic.

Give Feedback 

Another essential thing to do to improve your employees’ work ethic is to give them regular feedback.

This feedback might either be to inform, appreciate, or correct them.

Be it good or bad, individual employees need to hear from you, and they deserve it.

When you give frequent feedback, it helps your employees see how well they are doing and any improvement areas.

Additionally, it gives them a sense of value and motivates them to want to give their best.

This would also see their work ethics get stronger.

Do not Tolerate Indiscipline. 

If you are really going to get long-lasting success when it comes to employees’ work ethics, you need to instill discipline in your employees.

They need to understand that you would not tolerate anything short of quality work output and professionalism.

Also, be consistent with what repercussions or punishments are attached to breaking of company’s rules and regulations.

This part of management keeps the employees on their toes and ensures they will always give their best.

More importantly, it would generally improve the work ethics of your employees.

How to Improve Work Ethic in Employees – Final Thoughts 

A strong work ethic in your organization contributes to a good relationship with your employees and your customers.

Also, it ensures that all the resources you put into the management and running of the business are well utilized.

It saves you the cost and time associated with replacing ineffective and unproductive employees with new ones.

As a matter of fact, when you do this one thing, it can help shape the trajectory of your business in the right direction.

Therefore, waste no time about it.

Look around your organization and see which employees need assistance with their work ethics, and get to work immediately.

You can thank us later.