In light of recent corporate scandals in India, organisations are concerned about the corruption and unethical behaviour that can down-rail a company’s reputation and cause direct losses. The economy of India is largely dependent on the corporate sector, and the increasing number of corporate scams has more ethical implications than ever.
With the growing economy and evolving global demand from India, the proactive transformation into an ethical organisation has become desirable. But what exactly is an ethical organisational culture and how do you build one?
What is an ethical organisational culture?
An ethical organisational culture is one where employees speak up about any wrongdoing, leaders model integrity, there is open and honest communication, and business is conducted with high ethical standards. Employees and clients are increasingly choosing ethical companies to work with and do business with, as per the ‘Ethics in the Workplace’ survey in 2010.
Read on to know the fundamentals for building an ethical work culture:
Determine your principles and values and set a code of ethics
A code of ethics reflects an organisation’s principles and values and provide guidelines for employees to follow. It is a set of formalised rules and standards describing what an organisation expects of its employees. A few things that need to be considered while developing a code of ethics include support and assistance from the management and ensuring that all employees are aware of and understand the code of ethics. A work ethics assessment will help you in identifying those individuals whose principles and values are aligned with those of your organisation.
Managers' and leaders’ role
The National Business Ethics Survey (NBES) 2013 found that senior managers are more likely to break the rules than middle managers or subordinate staff. An organisation cannot be ethical unless its leaders and managers model ethical behaviour and set the standards. They have to demonstrate values in actions as well as in words.
Human Resources role
Human Resources professionals play an important role in building an organisational ethos, designing and implementing best practice policy, fostering trust, and advocating and guarding ethics. Human Resources have to ensure a transparent and fair recruitment process, prompt selection and promotion processes, and performance appraisal processes with compliance and honesty.
Training and mentoring
Organisations can give ethics training, which can include group discussions, case studies, and one-to-one meetings with senior managers, to emphasise the importance of ethics. A work ethics assessment is also an effective tool as it helps you understand a candidate’s likelihood of engaging in counterproductive work behaviour. Ethics assessments provide the necessary framework for conducting training and mentoring session that can help the attitude of employees to improve.
Implement work ethics assessments
A work ethic assessment is a scientific tool designed to assess the honesty, dependability, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, and reliability of candidates. An ethics assessment empowers organisations to protect themselves from the risk of hiring unsuitable candidates, build constructive development programmes, and create a positive company culture.
The recent work ethics assessment designed by Central Test, ETIX, helps companies evaluate the risks of counterproductive work behaviour and implement preventive measures. The assessments offer insight into an individual's attitudes towards self and towards others, thereby revealing not only if a person might participate in counterproductive work behaviour but also if they might enable it in others.
Organisations don’t have to remain passive about damaging behaviour. By proactively implementing these five steps, you will encourage your employees to recognise ethical issues, voice concerns, and act appropriately in the face of ethical dilemmas.
Simply put, an ethical work culture will lead to high performance, leading to high profitability.
Also published by People Matters Magazine