Do front desk clerks need to be ethical? Shouldn’t they leave the ethical behaviour to the trained professional? After all, a receptionist’s job is just to greet and welcome clients, isn’t it?

Front desk clerks anywhere are required to perform more than a simple smile and greeting. While welcoming clients and making them feel at ease is fundamentally important, front line staff are the initial contact with clients, the face of the company and consequently ethical principles cannot be taken for granted.

Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour. How does this apply to a front desk clerk? Most clerks are required to greet clients, receive and deliver information that may be of a confidential nature. Front desk clerks come into contact with clients before the professional and clients may divulge their personal issues to them. Being confidential with all information then becomes an important element among the front desk clerk’s behaviour.

In some companies, apart from the professionals, front desk staff may be required to sign Confidentiality Agreement. Why is this necessary? It is essential because clients need to be assured that information that front desk staff may be privy to is treated with absolute confidentiality. Clients also need to be guaranteed that when they have an appointment it remains private and newspaper reporters cannot have access to their information.  Ethical principles must be part of a front desk clerk’s job performance that is regularly appraised.

So the answer is clear, yes a front desk clerk needs to be ethical; in fact the onus is not only on the professional but everyone else in the company. By the way, everyone is expected to deliver professional and ethical behaviour, not only professionals.


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