When you think about potential ethics risks in your business, there are some that come to mind immediately. Every leader knows to prioritize mitigation regarding theft, sexual harassment, and safety. But there are other risks that could pose serious consequences, including hefty fines, costly litigation, and compromised company culture. Today, we’ll share some of the less conspicuous ethics violations to be aware of so you can make the necessary provisions. And an ethics hotline could just be the solution you need to protect your company from any of these potential ethics violations.
1. Over-Billing or Improper Customer Billing
For those business models with dedicated accounting, payroll, and AR/AP functions, you will need to provide oversight regarding ethics in finance. This includes more obvious concerns, including theft of funds. But there are other ethics risks, including improper billing practices or over-billing practices, to also recognize.
2. Covering Up Product Defects
In some companies where products are manufactured, distributed, or packaged, there are ethics concerns regarding quality control. Inadvertent or deliberate oversight of damage to products can be costly and potentially dangerous, depending on the product line.
3. Exploiting Workers
Be mindful of management staff or other company leaders who are responsible for coordinating workers’ productivity and scheduling. There could be ethical risks regarding worker exploitation. And you’ll need to provide oversight and guidance to mitigate any such risks.
4. Kickbacks, Bribery, and Gifting
If your business routinely solicits bids from contractors or third-party vendors, there are potential risks associated with kickbacks, bribery, or gifting. Those employees responsible for purchasing decisions and RFP management should be educated about your ethics policy regarding official selection. And lay in provisions, including the availability of an ethics hotline, to ensure improprieties don’t occur.
Discrimination in the workplace doesn’t just present during the hiring process. There are other potential risks for discrimination at other layers of management and operations, too. For example, one worker may be disproportionately awarded a bonus over another, suppliers may be chosen through a lens of discrimination, or promotions may be given without equity considerations. Consider implementing a strict anti-discrimination policy that extends to all forms of decision-making within your company.
6. Environmental or Nature-Related Risks
Some business models involve manufacturing and production processes that are subject to EPA regulations and environmental standards. An ethics hotline can be an added layer of protection in these working conditions to assist in enforcing requirements and best practices that relate to waste disposal, chemical management, or animals. Even the appearance of impropriety in these types of industrial or production environments could be costly, reputation damaging, and unsafe.
An ethics hotline is a great company resource for any size or type of business. It allows for the swift and anonymous reporting of any ethics concerns, including the more prominent to the less evident ethics violations, and allows you to intervene and investigate immediately. And it’s how companies today are staying one step ahead of ever-changing ethics. Consider implementing an ethics hotline and let Ethical Advocate help your business leverage the many advantages and improved ethics policy enforcement today!