Leadership Blog

Posted By: Eva Grabner | on June 26 2019

Work Ethic – What Does It Mean?

According to the internet’s equivalent of an encyclopaedia – Wikipedia – work ethic “is a set of moral principles a person uses in their job | people who possess a strong work ethic embody certain principles that guide their work behaviour, leading them to produce high-quality work consistently and the output motivates them to stay on track”

Of course, we all want people on our team’s that have a strong or high work ethic, and we would take pride in saying that we have a good work ethic ourselves.  It is one of the most sought-after attributes in times of recruitment.

The most common principles of a good work ethic are:

  • Punctuality
  • Self – discipline
  • High level of efficiency and productivity
  • Dedication to organisation, role and Team
  • Reliability
  • Professionalism
  • Respectfulness
  • Customer service excellence – internal and external

However, whilst a noun – work ethic – is also wide open to subjectivity.  Using the Wikipedia interpretation above – it is based on a ‘moral set of principles’. So as an employer what happens when your ‘moral principles’ differ from your prospective new employee’s? Employers before stating they are seeking someone with strong work ethics to join their Team, must have a clear understanding of what the foundations of work ethics mean to them and be able to articulate them.

As a potential new Team Member, having stated you have a strong work ethic – you need to be able to back that up.  A great way to do this is by sharing an example or examples where you demonstrated your work ethic.

It is universally agreed that good work ethics provide benefits to not only employers, but also the individuals who possess them.  Don’t take work ethics for granted – if you value work ethics, take the time to reflect and evaluate your current organisational or individual work ethic rating.  Would you rate a 10 out of 10? Or is there a particular principle or principles of your work ethic that need improvement?


Alison Hucks

Senior Recruitment Specialist

Elite Executive