A solid and clear ethical culture should be the backbone of your organization. Not only is it expected in the wider community, but it also means that your staff members are more productive and generally happier. Unfortunately, this sort of culture requires constant vigilance and it’s easy to become shortsighted and allow a weakened ethical culture to take root.
So, what can you do about a weak ethical culture within your organization? First of all, you have to go through all aspects of your organization thoroughly and identify any shortcomings and weak points. You may not be exposed to risk just yet, but those weak points are problems just waiting to happen.
Once you have identified areas of risk, what clear steps can you take to eliminate a weak ethical culture and create a more positive environment for everyone?
- Reinforce and re-write expectations
Do you have a code of conduct in place that everyone is aware of? If you don’t already or if it’s out of date, you need to reinforce how important it is. A code of conduct should be clear, simple and very much to the point. It should be a clear guide for everyone within the organization and be accessible at all times.
The code of conduct is a statement of what your organization expects from everyone with regard to their behavior and their values. Once clear expectations are defined, there are no excuses for not abiding by it.
- Conduct training and awareness programs
Now is a good time to conduct training sessions so that every employee is clear about the code of conduct, any new policies, and what is expected of them. It’s important that your business leaders participate in the training so that an example of positive and ethical behavior is reinforced by those in charge of your organization.
- Feedback and engagement
Once everyone is clear on expected behaviors, it’s time to gather valuable feedback. By engaging each team in feedback sessions, it’s possible to gain deeper insights into further weak spots within your organization. By engaging people in this way, you also reinforce the importance of building a better and more ethical culture.
Have each team set some goals and priorities for their area too. Can each team identify their weaknesses? Do they have measures in place to eliminate those weaknesses? Do they have a clear set of goals to work towards in the context of building a more positive culture?
- Implement a reporting process
An accessible reporting mechanism should always be in place for everyone within your organization. It should be anonymous and accessible 24 hours a day. Though some organizations view whistleblowing as potential trouble, the fact is that you need to provide your employees with a way to enforce a highly ethical culture within your organization.
Shifting the culture
If your organization has fallen into some bad habits and you’ve identified some risks and weak points, it’s time to make positive changes. An organization with a positive and highly ethical culture is one that thrives in the 21st century.