The Importance of a Speak Up Culture

A workplace is like any community, dependent on the feelings and attitudes of its members. A work community can be positive. The members might encourage one another, look out for each other, and all while working efficiently together towards a common goal. And while no organization is perfect or even nearly perfect, organizations like Google and Facebook are quick to jump to mind as examples of positive corporate culture. These businesses are well known for investing significant resources into fostering a wholesome work community.

But a work community can be negative, too. It can be built on fear, apathy, and abuse–and any attempt to organize towards achieving the common goal may be hampered by this atmosphere, if not ruined all together. It’s no coincidence that a dozen of the largest, most successful, businesses in the world are well known for being good places to work–and work environment is clearly correlated with success or failure.

One need but ask themselves which they would rather work in: a free, open, workplace or one restrained by tension and a lack of trust–to test the truth of this notion.

Community culture is notoriously hard to change, though. How does a small or mid-sized organization avoid a cancerous corporate culture, or change for the better a culture that has become negative? Through the institution of a few, simple, steps any organization can ensure it’s work community is one where employees feel empowered to speak up and take an active role in maintaining the health of their environment.

Defining A Corporate Culture

There is no reason to hide the ball when it comes to shaping corporate culture. Every organization should have a simple, thorough, well written, code of conduct drafted specifically to the requirements of it’s industry. This code should be widely disseminated, and employees should be encouraged to interact with these rules in regular, engaging, events meant to reinforce their active adoption and use.

Protecting Those Who Speak Out

Ultimately, though, a code of conduct is only as good as it’s enforcement. In this way, fostering a “speak out” culture is vital to the environment building process. Organizations should institute an anonymous ethics hotline and other reporting mechanisms to encourage employees to use the systems put into place for their benefit and protection. Once a complaint is made and investigated, action should be taken swiftly to show the complainant and other employees that their safety, security, and well-being are all of paramount concern to your community.

The Effect Of An Open Corporate Culture

Once your employees have seen that abusive acts will not go unpunished, they’ll be more likely to engage with reporting systems that discourage the establishment of a hostile or abusive corporate culture. When strong systems are put into place that identify bad actors, those actors are gradually removed while these new protections ensure no new malefactors move in to take their place. This, however, is not always a simple task and if your organization needs help in designing and implementing ethics systems and processes, contact the compliance experts at Ethical Advocate today!

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