Business ethics – blah, blah, blah. There is no such thing. There are only ethics. They stem from values, attitudes and beliefs. Since people make up companies and organizations, it is their values, attitudes and beliefs that get brought in this environment. How they match up is a measure of performance.
The 2007 National Business Ethics Survey was released last month and guess what? They are Baaaaaack! Problems are over and the pre-Enron levels. Research reports that only 9% of companies in the United States have strong ethical culture. Is yours one of them? Over 50% of employees surveyed said they saw ethical misconduct of any kind, and were afraid to report it for fear of retaliation or that reporting would not cause any structural changes.
What has failed in the past?
- Hotlines – they do not. If employees want to report abuse, they prefer to do it to someone they know and feel comfortable around. The challenge? What if the person they are comfortable with is involved in the offense?
- or conducting business that are not congruent with the values creates conflict and includes ethical decision making on the part of employees. Do what is right or what will generate revenue and profits?
- Heavy handed ethics penalties. The “off with your head” mentality is not conducive individuals who want to do the right thing. The plan is based on fear.
- create value, to send them into the break room or on your website and sales system called moral values-based business.
Creating a culture that is moral or based should not be treated as a single event. This will involve taking a consultant to come in and conduct an initial assessment to determine the cultural climate. This will also include a series of training conducted seminars, workshops, conference calls and other means of leadership, staff and employees. Provides clear objectives, functions and values will be established with responsibility for both the consultant and the company in order to achieve the desired result.
What will work?
- establish clear values and organizational code of conduct.
- Interpreting the values for employees.
- values you wages are behaviors you can expect.
- Hire, promote and develop a succession plan that is consistent with the company’s values.
- Show employees that report is important and provide many safe havens for reports.
Now is the time to start coming true competitive company in the marketplace. How much is this costing your business in terms of lost employees, lost sales, can manufacturing, employee conflicts, reduced communication and a myriad of other areas with financial implications?