As a business owner, you’re often prioritizing your ethics policies and company culture preservation efforts to directly impact your employees and staff. But how effective are you at monitoring and managing the ethics with your business partners and vendors?
Vendors and contractors interact with your teams and, in some cases, your customers. And because they don’t work within your organization, they might operate by their own codes of ethics and conduct. How can you be sure their business practices don’t negatively impact your business reputation? Today, we’ll highlight some of the insights you need to know when developing strong and ethical relationships with your vendors. And an ethics hotline is a great addition to help you do just that.
1. Vendors Can Be Discriminatory
While you take every precaution to safeguard against discriminatory behavior within your business, don’t forget that you’ll also need to protect your brand reputation, teams, and customers from discriminatory behavior from vendors. Any vendor contact who refuses to work cohesively with your staff members or customers based on religion, age, race, gender, or other identifiers, is not a vendor you want on your preferred list.
2. Safety Violations with Your Vendors
Safety is always a top priority for staff. But you’ll also need to enforce on-premises safety requirements with visiting contractors and vendor partners. One of your reps who refuses to wear a helmet, for example, when traversing the shop floor, is a safety liability.
3. Data and Privacy Vendor Violations
Depending on the services you contract with your vendors, some of your most valuable company data may be at risk. You don’t want any suppliers to share proprietary information or customer data purposefully or inadvertently with outside audiences. And you’ll want to lay in measures that safeguard your company data privacy with whomever you work with as a preferred vendor.
4. Bribery Among Contractors
Some of your vendors will participate in RFP or bidding processes in an attempt to earn your contract. And these engagements should always be regulated and supervised to avoid any instances of impropriety concerning bribes or gifts. Know who’s bidding on your contracts and coach those staff members responsible for fair and legal negotiations and decision-making.
5. Sexual Harassment from Vendors
Your vendor or supplier representatives should be held to the same ethical standards as your staff. And enforcing a zero-tolerance policy regarding workplace bullying or sexual harassment is paramount. Make sure you have a robust ethics policy in place that reminds and enforces anyone who engages with your teams. Sales reps, contractors, and supplier contacts should all be aware of your zero-tolerance policy and well-informed on repercussions for violations.
6. An Ethics Hotline Is Imperative for Vendor Ethics Management
Because your suppliers and vendors don’t work for you internally, you can be limited on what you can do to govern or manage them. But an ethics hotline is a valuable and proven channel for improving vendor oversight. An ethics hotline essentially deputizes anyone, staff, clients, and partners, with the ability to report anonymously about ethics violations or concerns. This allows you to officially commit to an investigation and take necessary steps to remove violators or remedy the situation.
Consider implementing an ethics hotline for your business and leverage an added layer of protection against ethics violations. And contact Ethical Advocate be your guide!