One of the most powerful tools for ensuring a successful company is making solid positive ethics a pillar. When decisions are based on these ethics, your company brand wins respect and future clients and customers. You also experience higher engagement and retention levels. Of course, ethics are not always black and white issues, nor are they always easy, but in the end, establishing a code of behavior and upholding it, pays off.
According to Lisa Olsen, we all have an inner guide that knows the right thing to do – ethics is following it. For some people, acting with integrity and remaining true to ethical standards is natural, while others have to work to develop it. Of course, many factors play a role in our individual ethical radars.
The key is making the decision to chose the ethical path, maintaining the discipline to be true to your decision, and incorporating those practices into your business.
Four Pillars of an Ethical Culture
• Respect – Setting a standard of respect at every level within your company from the lowest page entry-level worker to top management, treating people with respect is crucial
• Integrity – Standing behind your word. Whether it’s a promise you made to a customer or an employee, keeping your word is a given. Deliver the product/service you sold. Deliver the pay and benefits you offered.
• Compassion – A focus on your customers reinforces the responsibility you have to the market. Consideration for your employees protects your best asset. Your decisions affect your people, your investors, your partners and ultimately, your customers. Serving all of these people with compassion is part of your ethical responsibility
• Commitment – Being willing to stand by your ethics even when it’s difficult sets a standard for your entire staff. When they witness your commitment, they are more motivated to follow your example.
Key Building Factors
• All levels of management comply with ethical codes of conduct – establishing through personal actions that long-term reputation is more important than short-term gain.
• Establish clear boundaries for behavior and responses to misconduct.
• Establish trust by being honest and transparent, accepting accountability, and keeping promises.
• Keep a written code of conduct, company values, and expectations concerning ethics – communicate about these at regular intervals.
• Provide training on company standards.
• Encourage employees to address issues immediately.
• Create a safe way for employees to report unethical behavior without fear of retaliation.
• Give positive feedback to employees whose behavior supports the company’s ethical culture.
• Have a system for disciplining failure to comply.
Although an ethical culture is hard to define and difficult to measure, it has the power to shape a company’s employee satisfaction and retention, productivity, reputation, and its ultimate success. It is the environment and morale within the company – including how people treat company clients, customers, and coworkers.
Contact Springborn Staffing. We place a high priority on ethical standards, working hard to match strong companies in Bangor and Portland, Maine with top talent.