I like this short article around Ethical Cultures. I have been working in many companies over the years, both large and small. I tended to find that my own values were mirrored better by companies of a certain size (generally of around 300 staff). These often were subsidiaries of larger companies, however their values were reinforced positively normally at company level where I worked (this was also around having the right senior management within the company). There were companies where I worked for where some of the values were very much aligned positively, such as the values of not discriminating on race, sex or age within professional recruitment companies, for example, however other values in companies were not always those I would like to be part of today. The one that stands out is using strong sales techniques, closing the sale especially in recruitment and other industries. It made me good at it, however looking back, some of those practices may not be looked at as ethical today - these I am sure still happen, if not to a stronger degree. The company I work for everis has strong values and has clear simple values which are generally reviewed every couple of years by all the staff. This is a bottom up approach, as it is important that staff create and follow values that are supported by all the staff. They are:
- Discerning Generosity
- Responsible Freedom
- Creative Energy
To bring these together, I would say, as company we are transparent on how we operate, both internally and with our clients and partners. We aim to keep a consistency in what we do, especially on how we deliver and work closely in a collaborative approach, both internally and with our clients. Creative energy is part of our DNA as we always strive to do things better and innovation is always part of what we do. Responsible freedom, is where we use trust both internally and externally with clients to work, where we focus on delivering what we do well for our clients, whilst at the same time respect our clients, colleagues and staff.
We have one of the smallest 'sales' organisations in our company, as most of what we achieve is through word of mouth and networking, and through client recommendations. As a global business everis globally grew 38% in the last year making us a $1bn plus company with over 19,000 staff - and very few sales people.
I would say that in the 20 years of existence, moving from 5 to 19000 staff (totally organically) has been primarily with partnering closely with our clients, always delivering and working closely with staff and clients to ensure this happens. A hard work ethic. Having a good life balance, so when on holiday, switching off, but ensuring good coverage where needed.
Celebrating success and recruiting people with the same positive values as ourselves is also key, this ensuring good attrition rates. The other key thing is ensuring all staff have a professional development plan, so they can grow as we all grow as a business.
Our focus is not profit, but looking after our staff, which enables us to look after our clients, the money then just follows. We are now part of the 6th largest IT services group and part of a top 50 Fortune 500 company with global revenues in excess of $100bn.
1) Have a clear code of ethics- this means establishing what an organization's values, objectives, and responsibilities are. It should provide guidance to all employees on how to deal with specific ethical situations. My suggestion is to start out with a shorter code and expand it as the business dictates. 2) Full accountability for ethics takes place at every level including the C-Suite. Every employee must be responsible and accountable for their own conduct. 3) Enforcement takes place by creating an effective and robust compliance program. Every department in an organization must operate with transparency and a commitment to mitigate risk. Decision-making carefully incorporates ethics. 4) Treat people with respect, consideration, and courtesy. Few things in life are more powerful if done with consistency.