Managers, even if you feel that your employees are not listening carefully at those monthly staff meetings, know that they are watching and learning from your workplace persona what is right, what is wrong, what is an acceptable business practice, and what is not. Building an ethical business culture starts at the top. If managers and supervisors demonstrate that they value honest, ethical behavior and hard work, studies have shown that line and staff employees will follow.
Employee morale is highest when ethics, fairness, and honesty are practiced from the departmental level all the way to the C-Suite. And, high employee morale translates directly to company profitability.
The task may seem overwhelming, creating the framework necessary to build the ethical brand you want to project to the public in general and more specifically to your customers. While creating role-model managers cannot be accomplished overnight, the key is to get started.
There are three concrete things you can do to plant the seeds to grow a strong, honest, and well-regarded business.
Training Is the Key to Creating a Role-Model Culture
While a manager may be a basically honest and fair person, most are not inherently able to recognize complex conflicts of interest or the subtle bias of some types of discrimination. Training managers to recognize ethical dilemmas is the first step to ethics competence. Managers also understand that when the C-Suite allocates dollars to support ethics training, then ethical behavior is a priority for the business. Once managers are able to recognize ethics issues, training teaches them the best way to respond.
Create an Infrastructure Responsive to Ethics Issues
Managers frequently don’t know where to turn to get competent ethics advice when ethics problems arise with line and staff employees. Setting up a manager with ethics expertise in human resources, or creating a separate departmental entity organized to receive and resolve company ethics issues, is a statement about your company’s values. Employees are happiest when they feel they are listened to and when management heeds their concerns. Also, such a system readily alerts managers to problems that might otherwise be left festering at the staff level.
Create Positive Reinforcement Using Performance Reviews, Compensation Evaluations, and Frequent Coaching Sessions.
Making positive inroads into building a culture that values honesty, fairness, and responsibility, both towards employees and your business community, requires daily nurturing by and of your managers. Ethics training and setting goals that encourage ethical behavior should be a part of employee performance evaluations. Positive role-model behavior should be commended and rewarded by the process you create. If employees attend ethics training over and above company requirements, if an employee recognizes a troublesome conflict of interest in a bidding procedure, and/or if a manager does an especially good job of resolving of an employee-discrimination complaint, more carrot and less stick should be the lodestar. Praise, when warranted, raises employee morale and encourages the continuation and repetition of the targeted behavior.
Wells Law, LLC is here to assist you in the development of cost-efficient, compliant policies and procedures for your professional practice or business. Click on the hyperlink to contact us or to learn more about the services we can provide for you and your business.