Why Is It Good To Have Integrity in Your Professional Life and Why Do Employers Seek Integrity?

Updated on April 15th, 2023

March 7th 2022

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  • In this article, we introduce the term “integrity.” Despite it being one of the crucial qualities of a strong employee, most professionals use the wrong definition of this term!

  • We also explain the three main reasons why integrity among employees is so important for employers today.

  • Lastly, we talk about how you can talk about integrity during the job interview to make a strong impression on the recruiter.

Why Is It Good To Have Integrity? What Does Integrity Mean To You?

Why is it good to have integrity? “Integrity” – is a keyword used extensively by leaders, employers, and recruiters. We are all conscious that integrity at the workplace is expected of us. But, what does integrity mean in practice? Is it an empty phrase, a high-level concept, or perhaps, a virtue that can be quantified and measured?

So, what does integrity mean to you? When you think about integrity, what words come to your mind? As it turns out, most professionals misunderstand this term!

When asked about the meaning, they come up with associations such as “integral to the company,” “fitting the workplace,” or “fitting the team.” While in fact, “professional integrity” means something completely different!

The Real Meaning of “Integrity.”

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, “integrity” has two major meanings. Firstly, on an individual level, it can mean the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change.

Secondly, on the level of an organization, it means the quality of being whole and complete. But, what do “moral principles” mean? According to the same dictionary, “morality” means a set of personal or social standards for good or bad behavior and character.

For a professional in the workplace, integrity means nothing else than sticking to firm social standards of behavior and staying faithful to virtues such as honesty, accountability, and loyalty.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to adopt the exact same standards as your employer’s personal standards. It just means that you do develop your own set of rules for how to proceed toward other people depending on the circumstances. That you are not a loose cannon but you have a strong work ethic.

In other words, integrity means reliability. It is not relative. If you are a person of integrity, it means that you have a moral corpus and you will stick to it wherever you go. Employed or jobless, your level of integrity stays the same!

Why Is Integrity So Important To Employers Today? Why Is It Good To Have Integrity?

You might be asking yourself: so, why is it good to have integrity? Why is integrity so crucial to employers today? Aren’t the credentials to do the job enough to get you hired? Well, not really! There are three major reasons why this is the case:

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1. Business Equals The Team.

In times of economy based on services and white-collar work, the strength of the business is the strength of its team. Unlike in the case of blue-collar workers, in intellectual work, the output of the team is not an arithmetic sum of the output coming from single team members.

Namely, it is a much more complex function of the team members’ individual capabilities and ideas, and the synergy between them.

Therefore, in the long term, the dynamics building between the team members is more important than the work conducted by each individual pair of hands.

In such conditions, developing a sense of respect and honesty in the team is the key to success. A person with integrity has a moral code that lets them admit whenever they make mistakes or show poor judgment.

A person with integrity is also a team player – lets other team members express their opinions and develop their talents rather than trying to absorb all the attention. Overall, integrity leads to better team dynamics, more satisfaction from work, and higher productivity.

2. Integrity Means Quality.

People with integrity do what they say they would do. When they sign a contract for 8 hours per day, they work 8 hours per day – whether they are controlled or not.

And, in times of hybrid and remote working schemes, this is crucially important, as employers no longer have the opportunity to closely watch their employees. In other words, for the employer, “integrity” implies high quality of work and a strong work ethic.

3. Integrity Means Safety.

Today, in the economy based on services, most companies build their value on Intellectual Property (IP). It not only means patents and trademarks, but also:

  • Novel algorithms and features,
  • Procedures,
  • Trouble-shooting protocols,
  • Professional training schemes,
  • Community building techniques,
  • Documentation,
  • Internal correspondence.

For any business, it is crucial to hire employees that can be trusted. Namely, your employer needs to trust that you won’t make the company IP leak, as it can lead to major losses or even ultimate failure on the market. That’s why “integrity” and “respecting Intellectual Property” are honey to the employers’ ears!

4. Integrity Means Harmony.

Last but not the least, integrity implies maturity and predictable behavior, and as such, is helpful when it comes to preventing and solving conflicts in the team

Team members with high integrity have more patience, are less emotional at work, and are more willing to compromise more and put more work into developing synergy in the team than others. Needless to say, this is a priceless trait to employers!

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How To Determine Your Values as a Professional?

Now, how to figure out what your values actually are? Of course, you might review the usual suspects, namely the values employers typically look for in their employees such as: communication skills, diligence, reliability, team work, taking initiative, accountability, continuous learning.

However, you can also help yourself by using these four free resources will help you identify and explore your own work and career-related values:

  1. Identifying your professional values by Alis Alberta,
  2. Reflecting on your professional values by Job Bank,
  3. Value discovery by Career One Stop,
  4. Value checklist by Berkeley Career Centre.

How To Talk About Integrity At The Job Interview?

Once we went through the main reasons why it is good to have integrity, let’s approach the question: how to talk about integrity to the recruiter? Well, the most important thing is to explain: what does integrity mean to you?

As mentioned before, many professionals misunderstand the term and cannot vocalize why it is good to have integrity. Therefore, the bare fact that you are conscious of what it means, puts you in good light as a good employee. 

You could say, for instance,

“I believe I am a person of high integrity. I am respectful and honest towards all members of my team. I am a good listener and I let other people shine, but I am also open and helpful when I see what could be improved. 

I can admit to my mistakes. I do what I promise, I can work on my own, and I stick to agreements. I always respect Intellectual Property and the confidentiality standards of my employers.”

This statement will demonstrate to the recruiter that you have a mature attitude to work and that you are perfectly aware of what “integrity” implies. Of course, it will also be warmly received if you mention “integrity” among your core competencies.

Learn more on how to outperform other candidates at job interviews from our other articles:

Would you like to share any stories from job interviews related to integrity talk with us? Or, share what integrity means to you? Please drop us a comment below!

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Please cite as:

Wright, D., Bielczyk, N. (2022, March 7th). Why Is It Good To Have Integrity in Your Professional Life and Why Do Employers Seek Integrity? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/why-is-it-good-to-have-integrity-in-your-professional-life-why-do-employers-seek-integrity/

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