What do Hewlett Packard’s spy operations, Wells Fargo’s fake customer accounts, and Mylan Pharmaceutical’s price-gouging all have in common?
A lapse in Business Ethics.
What does “Business Ethics” mean? The short definition is a moral code of conduct companies adopt and pledge to follow. “Ethical Standards forbid tolerance of and participation in activities considered immoral, unlawful, unfair, dangerous, irresponsible and generally harmful.” Businesses can lower the risk of becoming lawsuit targets by setting ethical standards.
First things first, Accountable Leadership is key to any business. Businesses that are considered to be “ethical” have a high moral code and expect honest and trustworthy behavior from everyone in their organizations. Whether they are Chief Executive Officers or other high-level company leaders, it’s required that they hold themselves accountable for following and enforcing the same ethical standards as their employees.
Author Laurie Haughey of “Athletes Off the Field: A Model for Team Building and Leadership Development Through Service Learning,” cites 5 high-standard goals of ethical leaders:
- Communication in which ethical behavior is both carried out and instilled in a company’s brand.
- High-quality products & services that everyone in the organization takes responsibility for producing.
- Collaboration with diverse groups of advisors.
- Succession planning in which future company leaders pledge to maintain ethical behavior.
- Tenure – which requires leaders to work for the company in the most ethical way until they decide to leave.
The next question you will want to ask is, “What does acceptable conduct look like?”
Through internal rules of conduct, businesses can maintain ethical workplace behavior. A good way for companies to establish rules of conduct, so that everyone is aware and is held to the same standards, is to publish a Rules of Conduct policy in their Employee Handbook and require employee’s to sign agreements stating that they read and understood the rules and consequences for violating them. It’s up to managers to run an “Ethical Office.” Companies who are considered to have an “ethical office” promote honesty and trust in communicating with employees, directors, stockholders, and customers.
A lapse in ethics has led some businesses to exaggerate their earnings, products’ capabilities, and stock values due to companies bending to the pressures of meeting sales goals. A lot of times, companies overpromise and under deliver their services. Nowadays, customers are more vigilant and less accepting of unethical behavior, leaving it up to organizations to conduct themselves based on a higher moral code.
HR can head up ethics initiatives in their organizations. HR knows how to help employers behave like good corporate citizens for their employees and the surrounding communities, and operate within the law.
Bolden-Barrett, V. (2017, March 17). The keys to running an ethical organization. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from http://www.hrdive.com/news/the-keys-to-running-an-ethical-organization/438355/
All these skills apply regardless of your current job status, role, title, or position. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting an entry-level position, a manager, or the Vice President of your company. All levels can benefit from these 6 leadership skills.
- Embracing Politics
I know what you may be thinking… Yes, politics in an office can have a negative connotation associated with it, but it can be used for good too. At it’s core, it’s about building relationships with the people you work with. There are many different types of power and influence that exists in an organization, but there are three that stand out when talking about politics in an organization.
- Role Power
This is also referred to as “legitimate power” and is very hard to change in a company. It refers to where you sit in an organizational chart. It asks the questions; who reports to you, who do you report to, and who does your yearly performance evaluation?
- Expertise Power
This refers to who perceives you to be knowledgeable about a certain subject they care about. The key word here is, “perception.” You could be really knowledgeable about a subject but if people don’t perceive you to be knowledgeable in that subject, then you do not have “expertise power.” There may be times when you wonder why a certain individual received a promotion or how that person got into that position. This happens all too often. At some point, someone who had the “role power” to make that decision, perceived these people to be experts, even though they might not be. A lot of times this happens because the person had a relationship with the decision maker, which brings me to the third power,
- Relationship Power
This is the most important power for you to develop, because it transcends the organizational chart. You can develop relationship power with anyone, at anytime. The first step to get them to follow you is to get them to like you. Take the time to get to know other people even outside your own department. Use the people you get to know, but don’t “use” them so that the relationship is one-sided. The relationship should be a reciprocal relationship. Think about yourself as being a service to others. The goal is to fundamentally lift them up to help them succeed. The energy you put out, will come back to you. When you adopt that kind of service mentality, that’s embracing the good kind of office politics.
- Role Power
- Picking Your Battles
This skill goes hand-in-hand with office politics. You have to know when to hold them and when to fold them. You can gain political capital by building relationships, but you can just as easily blow it all by choosing to fight too many battles. Save the political capital up for the times that really matter and those times are when they directly contribute to advancing your priorities. Don’t sweat the small things, instead focus on the things that allow you to get you where you want to go.
- Crafting Your Vision
Battles you choose to fight all depend on what you’re trying to achieve. Great leaders have a plan and need to establish a clear set of goals. It’s important to have a sense of purpose, know what it’s going to take and how to articulate it simply to your team. If you can’t articulate it correctly, they may not jump on board. Remember, just because it makes sense to you, doesn’t mean it will make sense to them. Be Bold. Leaders are meant to inspire people and if you accomplish that, they will be more likely to show up and do their best work.
- Build Alignment
Great leaders bring other people along with them. Companies gain buy-in from different levels of people within the organization. That means communicating the big picture to everyone who needs to be involved. This ensures that everyone who wants to be involved has that chance to be included and anyone who doesn’t, can opt out. Include the reasoning behind your methods and really encourage questions. A lot of people are going to have a lot of ideas and make good points and so it’s important for you to remain open-minded. This is also a chance to look for opportunities to collaborate with them or refine your vision.
- Inspiring Execution
At this point, you know where you’re going, you have your group of people, and now it’s time to see your vision through and to do that, you have to create a tactical execution plan that illustrates what’s expected from each person. Make sure to give feedback along the way and set the example through your own behavior.
- Learn To Give Up Control
How you execute a vision or a plan is critical, but don’t mistake it for micro-managing. Leaders set goals and empower the people around them with the resources and support they need to get the job done. Even if you see them doing something different then what you would do, it doesn’t mean they’re doing it wrong and it doesn’t mean it won’t work. Don’t control them into doing it your way. Instead, ask questions and try to see it from their point of view.
If you don’t achieve your goal or see it through like you thought, you have the opportunity to learn from it and make improvements for the next time around. The only failure that really happens is the one we don’t learn from. Even if you let your people execute it the way they wanted, bring them along with you. They will learn something they didn’t know before. That’s going to set them up for future success. That, at the core, is what being a leader is really about.
Borysenko, Karlyn. “Human Strategies Podcast #11: Six Critical Leadership Skills That Will Take Your Career to the next Level.” Audio blog post. Zen Workplace. N.p., 3 Jan. 2016. Web. 9 Aug. 2016.
Yes, so January 1st has already passed, but it’s never too late to make a resolution for positive change.
So often we begin the New Year making a list of personal resolutions to better ourselves or our circumstances. What about our businesses? Why not resolve to better them and their circumstances? After all they are our livelihood; the very entity that allows us the opportunity to then better ourselves. It’s easy to look at the obvious personal resolutions: exercise, diet, etc. Resolutions for a business may be a bit harder to think of; how about resolving to one or more of the following? After all, even one positive resolution is sure to bring on further positive change.
- Review 2015
Look at the past year. What worked? What didn’t? Where did you gain the most profit? Where did you lose the most? Resolve to look at what does and doesn’t work in your line of business, and to learn from it.
- Set Goals & Strategize
Resolve to set aside time daily, or at least weekly, to review where your business is at and where you want it to be. Then make a plan to get it there! Reviewing throughout the year will allow you to change course as needed, and by utilizing weekly business planning sessions you can continually keep on track with your goals.
- Make Sure Your House is in Order
Resolve to be organized from the start with your books and taxes. Keeping your finances in order from the start, including your taxes, bills, and payroll, will help you to avoid the stress of facing an audit unprepared. In addition, go ahead and replace any equipment or necessary supplies that are in disrepair and making productivity harder.
- Invest In & Reward Your Employees
You hire the best, most talented employees in order to grow your business. Now resolve to keep them motivated and morale high by investing in and rewarding them. Offer training to continue their growth within your company. Remember to reward good work and to identify them for going above and beyond. Use positive constructive motivation and your results will be ten-fold.
- Forge New Partnerships / Networks
Resolve to join a networking or business organization to forge new partnerships and networks. These can be of immeasurable value to your company. Through new contacts you may spark new business ideas, or gain referrals.
Resolve to promote your business regularly and consistently in a variety of ways. Not sure about social media? 2016 is the time to really give it a shot, as it is becoming more and more important in both marketing and research. Also, don’t forget about reaching out to the customers you already have, they can be of great service in referrals and testimonials to use. And lastly don’t forget to keep your website up to date and appealing!
- Consult & Serve Your Customers Well
Take the time to listen to your customers. Their insight can really help you identify what you are doing right, and what you need to improve on. Resolve to really take into account their comments and recommendations and to implement change from them.
Handing over tasks and relinquishing control can be one of the hardest things to do. However, it can also be just the thing to help spur growth in your company. If you are always consumed with the administrative tasks of payroll, benefits, etc., you are not focusing on bringing in revenue. Why not resolve to hand over some of the burdensome administrative tasks to HR Strategies and focus on why you really went into business?
- Schedule YOU Time
Business can be consuming. As the “boss” you must make sure that you find time to schedule in your own down time. After all, who else is going to do it? Not leaving time for you away from the office and running the business is asking for burn-out, and disaster. Resolve to give yourself that pat on the back and some time away for the great job you’re doing. In doing so, you will be more motivated and inspired.
- Give Back
Make a difference in your community. Remember that those who give also receive. Take the time to find an organization to help, someone to mentor, serve on a committee, or volunteer. By growing goodwill you will also be growing a name for your business. So make a resolution to find a cause in your community that matters to you, and start making a difference.
HR Strategies enables businesses to reclaim time, stabilize and reduce labor costs, increase employee productivity, and improve morale while increasing employee retention. HR Strategies is dedicated to the success of our clients by providing the latest and best industry resources available as well as constant access to customer support. Want to learn more on how you can obtain the freedom to pursue your passions and focus on your core business? Call us today at 770-339-0000, or visit us at http://www.hr-strategies.com .
Last Thursday, January 14th, 2016, HR Strategies hosted an open house at their new location, allowing clients and invited guests to be able to tour the new space and see the many ways that the new location will enhance the services that are offered.
Guests were invited to enjoy refreshments in the new onsite training room while meeting the internal staff. This allowed them time to put faces with names and meet the benefits, payroll and client service reps that they talk to on a regular basis.
During the Open House we were able to give a brief demonstration of the upcoming enhancements to the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that our clients interface with, enabling them to see the continued investment we are making into providing top of the line services and technology platforms.
The turnout by clients was fabulous and we even gave away an Apple Watch to one lucky guest! The Open House was also an opportunity for our guests to network with a sample of the diverse selection of clients using our services. In this economy, HR Strategies wants to provide as many growth opportunities as possible to their clients!
The month of November is often thought of as the month to Give Thanks. As an employer, are you remembering to thank your employees and recognizing their achievements? Showing your employees appreciation for all they do can help boost productivity and morale, and that is always good for business! Here are just a few ways to Give Thanks to your employees this Thanksgiving season…
Treat your employee(s) to lunch
Hand written thank you notes for a personal touch
Awards: maybe a traveling trophy, a nice clock, any type of award that the employee can display in their office space.
Notice In Employee’s File: If an employer wishes to recognize an employee in this way, he should add the note, but also tell the employee he is doing so, so the employee knows he is appreciated.
Kudos Column: If your workplace has a newsletter, add a column where employees are recognized for outstanding efforts and achievements
Simple spoken words of Thanks can go a long way.
Implement an employee of the week program
Vacation – yes even a few hours of extra paid vacation time is a big reward for most employees
Ice Cream Sundae Party at the office
Night out at the ballpark for a team of employees
Give the employee a membership or subscription to a journal that relates to their work