As defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica, “Ethics is the discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad, right and wrong.” However, note this additional definition: “The term is also applied to any system or theory of moral values or principles.” This definition contains the explanation of the problem we struggle with when we tackle “Ethics Training.”
Note that the Britannica definition stated that the term could be applied to “any system or theory of moral values.” In other words, what you feel is ethical probably won’t be thought of as ethical by someone else! This is where the problem surfaces and why the need for training in “Ethical Behaviors for Cleaning Professionals” is needed in our industry. It should be easy to define business ethics in our industry, (or so I thought until I started to research this article).
Every cleaning professional I spoke with agreed that good ethics make for good business. However, there are those who agree and support the good ethics concept while their business behaviors say something else. I find this to be disturbingly true in the carpet cleaning and restoration segments of our industry. What is even worse, in my opinion, is that double standards really do commonly exist!
There’s a serious ethics gap in the professional cleaning industry, and the ethics gap as I observe it is: What we personally know/feel is right or wrong vs. what we think it takes to be successful in our businesses.
Here are some common examples that I notice on a regular basis: 1. Rudeness & Vulgarity. As I browse the various bulletin boards on the Internet that serve the cleaning professional, rudeness and deplorable conduct are an all too common factor that serious bulletin board participants endure. This obviously discourages all but the tough-skinned to ask questions and share ideas. 2. Use and display of IICRC logo to indicate that “standards” are observed, but does not:
Our industry is paying a price because of the unethical choices of usually well-meaning cleaning services. Solving this problem is not an easy task. In the next “Training Corner,” we’ll examine why these problems continue and what associations and IICRC schools might do to help.
This particular subject should prompt some responses on the bulletin board, so check it regularly at www.icsmag.com and express how you feel about training in “Ethical Behavior for Cleaning Professionals.”