55 per cent of SMEs have no ethics policy, survey finds

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7th January 2016 15:02 - Business Support

Recent analysis by Close Brothers has revealed that of the 500 SME owners that were surveyed, 55 per cent admitted that they do not have 55 per cent of SMEs have no ethics policy, survey findsan ethics policy, or code of ethics, for their company. An ethics policy is a set of guidelines which outline how people within a business should communicate with suppliers, clients and colleagues.

Of the respondents 2 in 5 (or 41 per cent) revealed that they do not have an ethics policy as they feel that it is not necessary for their company. A further 10 per cent were not sure if their company had one or not.

Chief Executive Officer at Close Brothers Asset Finance, Mike Randall, said of the findings:

“With business growth high on the agenda for many SME owners in 2016, the importance of good ethical behaviour will play an increasing role in how their businesses are perceived, both internally and externally. Discussions around ethical policies must be a priority if businesses are to reach their full potential.”

The survey findings also uncovered that many owners of SMEs believe that a formal ethics policy is only needed in large companies, with 37 per cent saying that they believe that their company is not big enough to have to worry about composing an ethics guideline.

56 per cent of SMEs said that they have experienced unethical behaviour in business.

According to 52 per cent of small businesses, they have been questioned about ethics in their supply chain.

“Nearly three quarters of the firms we talked to said that success is dependent on high standards of business ethics. With this in mind, it is clear that good trusting relationships with clients, employees, suppliers and the community are vital in business.” Randall further added

“Even though many smaller organisations have an informal understanding about how business is done, there are clear advantages to having a formal code in place – not least because they will inform business practice and greatly enhance the organisation’s reputation.”

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