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/
This month, as 2014 comes to a close, we are taking a look back at some of the most important blog topics we have covered both in case you missed them, and to help you prepare for 2015!
How’s Your Handbook?
Employment doesn’t just mean the hiring, paying, and perhaps the eventual termination of an employee. Employment means everything in the life cycle of an employee with your company.
As an employer you rely on your employees to get the job done, and to get it done well in an efficient and profitable manner. Just as you rely on them, they rely on you to manage them well, and to meet their needs. The relationship between employer and employee is a complex one, with both needing things from the other. On top of that an employer must make sure that they are meeting government guidelines on employment practices. These are just a few of the many complex issues that are a part of Human Resources.
A good employee handbook is an important tool in documenting your company policies, benefit programs, and expectations of the company – including acceptable and inacceptable behaviors and disciplinary measures. Businesses need to make sure that the policies, procedures, and other material listed within their employee handbooks are not only consistent, but also in line with the many Federal and State rules and regulations regarding employment.
Employment laws are continuously evolving and becoming more complex, and the many agencies that oversee them are continuing to crack down on employers who are in violation of the laws. Not only are the agencies continually cracking down on the employers, litigation is also on the rise by employee’s, and their representing layers, who feel they have been “wronged” by an employer for a myriad of employment law related issues. It is imperative that employers continue to review their employee handbooks for policies that need to be revised or added.
HR Strategies human resources department is here to assist with all of the employee lifecycle. We are able to not only aide you in developing customized employee handbooks, but in developing the employee policies and procedures that go into the handbook. We are proud to act as your partner in the human resource of your business.