Your Human Resources teams can be a pivotal instrument for enforcing ethics. And just like every other aspect of developing and maintaining a quality company culture, the rules continue to change. From remote workforces to digital asset protection, the landscape for how employees engage is ever-changing. That’s why it’s mission-critical that your HR leaders take new steps to improve and maintain your company code of ethics ongoing. Here are some things your HR teams could be doing differently with ethics enforcement and training.
Providing Clear Definitions and Constant Communication
One of the primary roles of your human resource management is to communicate rules of engagement and company guidelines. While they’re coaching new hires about how to submit an expense report, they can also be talking about the code of ethics regarding what types of expenses are reportable. While they’re introducing the zero-tolerance policy for theft or sexual harassment, they can also be shepherding employees about what defines “great” employee behavior and ethics. And as HR talks to employees about the processes for submitting time-off requests, they can also be sharing the processes for reporting ethics violations. Sit down with your HR teams and review your current training and coaching initiatives to see where ethics enforcement can also be included.
Encouraging the Right Thing
Human Resources shouldn’t always be the disciplinarian for ethics violations. Look to identify where your employees are doing the right thing, and offer rewards for positive ethical behaviors, too. Much like a company would promote the number of days without a safety-related incident; maybe your company can implement a companywide sharing of ethics “wins” and positive reinforcement for good deeds. These will help promote a positive company culture, as well, since employees will look to make the right decisions to get those “pats on the back.”
Training Should Outline Daily Accountability
Part of your HR training should include tutorials and guidance on how employees should approach difficult decisions on the job. Coach them through how to assess challenges, who to turn to for help, and when to determine if a particular issue requires management assistance. As part of this training, HR can also segue into ethics discussions about identifying a violation. Here’s where they might provide a step-by-step plan of action for reporting those violations. During the daily operations and within the scope of work, employees should know precisely when to make their own decisions, when to get help, and when an incident needs to be reported.
An Ethics Hotline Is HR’s Greatest Ethics Tool
Because your human resources teams can’t be everywhere at once, an ethics hotline can be the best tool in the toolbox. An ethics hotline allows anyone, employees and non-employees alike, to report any incidents of impropriety, from safety hazards to sexual harassment. And whistleblowers can remain completely anonymous in their reporting. Using the data provided by your hotline provider partner, you can assess where your HR efforts or training could be improved. Additionally, you’ll also be ahead of serious violations before they turn into more costly situations.
How is your HR department doing with ethics policy training efforts? Let Ethical Advocate help evaluate your current process and set up the ethics hotline you need to enforce your ethics policies and continue building a great company culture.