Unfortunately, unethical behavior in the workplace seems to be an almost inescapable subject in the national conversation today. Over the past few months major figures in news, media, politics, and industry have all been implicated in insider trading scandals, campaign finance issues, and–perhaps most prominently–in sexual harassment allegations.
These are issues that inevitably arise in the workplace from time to time–human nature, or at least human history, is replete with stories of high-profile bad behavior. But how can these issues be avoided, or at least managed? How can your organization avoid unwanted attention while ensuring a safer, more profitable, work space for your employees? You can implement a rigorous code of conduct and disseminate materials that clearly articulate your organization’s requirements and expectations–but that’s just the beginning of a plan.
Ensuring your employees comply with a stated standard, though, is the most important–and the most difficult–aspect of any compliance initiative. Put another way, the most critical part of any newly implemented code of conduct is the system of reporting, investigation, and enforcement that comes along with it. The best way to get your office involved in ethical compliance is by instituting an anonymous hotline–a reporting and enforcement system–that employees can use to report bad behavior before it hurts someone or winds up on the evening news. Here are a few of the advantages that come from installing an anonymous hotline.
- Knowledge is Power: Knowing about a situation before it escalates into a serious problem is the best way to head-off a scandal before anyone gets hurt or your organization’s reputation is harmed.
- Security is Good for Business: Employees who don’t fear abuse by co-workers or managers perform better at their jobs, leading to higher profits and more satisfied clients and customers. An employee that feels safe is more likely to work diligently for you. An employee that feels vulnerable or unheard will take matters into their own hands.
- Consequences Build Loyalty: Employees who see their complaints acted upon feel a sense of belonging towards their workplace. An employee who feels like they have a say in their own environment is more likely to stay and not leave for a competitor.
- Transparency Saves You Money: By identifying and getting rid of potentially bad actors in your work environment, your organization can save significantly on court costs, legal fees, and pricey settlement deals. A good ethics hotline will not only keep your employees secure, but your bank accounts too.
- And Keeps It All Where It Should Be: A lot of the conversation around ethics in the workplace lately has centered on sexual harassment and abuse rooted in issues of power dynamics and other social problems. But theft and fraud are just as common as interpersonal abuse, and cases like Enron show how bad financial behavior can ruin your company–an ethics hotline can help identify these issues, as well.
Your organization can benefit from an ethics audit and the implementation of an anonymous hotline. If you want to avoid scandal, expensive legal fees, and unnecessary headache–consider consulting the ethics and compliance experts at Ethical Advocate today!