Work Ethics

The labour market in Vanuatu is small, so it is particularly important to build and maintain a good reputation as a worker. Colleagues and managers will talk about your actions and performance at work. The way in which they express about you might determine in a great extent the success in your career.

Every workplace has a different philosophy and, as a consequence, different emphasis on ethical values. For instance, the ethical values in a school are different than in a hospital or in a Police Station. Nevertheless, this section lists some of the good ethics that we consider that are fundamental and applicable in any workplace in Vanuatu.


Integrity is a concept that includes different personal and ethical values. Integrity at the workplace implies that every activity, every action do is done under conscience of strong moral values including honesty, responsibility, and accountability. It means to do the right thing no matter what is the situation. We consider that a worker or an employer that performs her/his tasks with integrity is a role model.

Shonna Waters (Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Statistics from the University of Minnesota) defines integrity as the act of behaving in an ethical, moral, honest and honorable way – even when you know no one is watching. For instance, informing a cashier that they gave you too much change and going back to the store to pay for something you forgot to pay for are two examples of showing integrity in everyday circumstances.

The website details that a person with integrity will:

  • Be thoughtful of others
  • Be dependable
  • Be responsible
  • Be reliable
  • Have good ethics
  • Be patient
  • Be self-aware
  • Be trustworthy
  • Be honest
  • Be respectful
  • Be hardworking
  • Have sound judgment
  • Have good morals
  • Be helpful
  • Do the right thing
  • Be gracious

Why Is Integrity Important in the Workplace?

(Extracted from

No employer wants a dishonest employee, but the reasons for seeking an individual with integrity go far deeper than simply wanting a workforce that is not deceitful.

Integrity in a working environment helps create a positive culture where staff work well together, trust each other, have respect, can depend on each other and are compassionate.

This working culture is conducive to a motivated, happy workforce that will typically be more productive than a workforce where integrity is lacking.

An employer with a workforce comprising individuals who have integrity can trust that their staff will work to the best of their ability and put in the hours without being supervised. They should be able to rest safe in the knowledge that employees will not cheat, lie or cut corners.

By hiring employees with integrity, a company can create a more robust framework that forms the foundations of a business that provides a quality service and has a good reputation. Clients, vendors and customers will know that the company is honorable and will not seek to take advantage of them.

Regards of level, whether an intern or a CEO, it is important to show integrity at work.

As an employee in an entry-level position, integrity is vital to maintaining a successful employee-employer relationship. It also helps make you a valued member of the team and a person people feel they can approach and depend on.

Those in a senior position or position of power should demonstrate integrity in all aspects of their work to set a good example to those who look up to them and are learning from them.

As an employer, it is vital to show integrity to maintain a positive relationship with employees.

Being honest about proposed changes to the business or possible layoffs, for example, may mean a difficult conversation in the short term, but long term, this transparency helps build trust with employees and a positive working environment.

If an organization has dishonest employees who do not follow the company’s policies (for example, working day timings, dress code, break length) and are not trustworthy, these internal problems will very likely show externally, causing issues with retaining clients and maintaining a positive reputation.

Key Takeaways about Integrity

(Extracted from

Integrity is the quality of having strong ethical or moral principles and following them at all times, no matter who's watching.

A person with integrity acts with honesty, honor, and truthfulness.

Integrity is a valuable skill in an employee, because it indicates they will perform to the best of their ability and act on their principles

Open and Honest Communication

In any workplace, it is essential that exists a comfortable environment for an open and honest communication. But, this environment is not created spontaneously. It is required a good leadership that continuously demonstrates that speaking up does not have negative consequences on the labour conditions of the staff. A culture of communication must be built in order to make employees feel safe enough to communicate.

Sometimes, it is difficult to express our opinions or decisions for being afraid of the reaction of our boss. But, we cannot take this assumption for granted. In a study carried out by James R. Detert and Amy C. Edmondson, they reported that employees said that they feared speaking up because managers had been genuinely hostile about past suggestions, but this was relatively rare. This fear is usually based on untested preconceptions.

James Deter emphasizes that studies show that people are likely to overestimate how awful the confrontation will be, how terrible the retaliation will be, and how long the retaliation will last. The only way of testing this preconceptions is by trying an open, respectful and kind dialogue to express your concerns.

In addition, lack of communication can generate the false environment that everything is going well, the feeling that if nothing has been reported it is because everything fine. Very often small problems can be solved with a quick conversation. And also, it is very common that when nothing is said, small problems become bigger and harder to solve.

So, we recommend continuous and open communication. Try it, it will be beneficial for you!

What should you communicate as a worker?

As a worker, it is important that you communicate with your manager any of the following situations (among many others):

  • Concerns about ethical issues or misconduct.
  • Notice for intention of termination of a contract.
  • Problems faced at performing your job.
  • Constructive ideas for improving projects products, processes, or performance.

What is the right approach to communicate?

There is no one single and perfect strategy to communicate issues or concerns. Every particular case can be different. But we recommend the following approach to speak up.

Be honest. Even if you are concerned about negative repercussions, honesty can save you.

Be kind and respectful. The manner you express yourself might determine the outcome of a conversation. Be sure that you are not confrontational.

If necessary, rehearse. Sometimes, when we are nervous, it is hard to organize our ideas. If you are very concerned about how to say something, practice with a friend. This will help you to structure and organize your thoughts.