What Makes a Company Ethical?

How to make your company ethical with ethics reporting programDon't retaliate, do reward, do investigate...

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Okay so we'll expand on that a little bit more.

We came across an article that referenced a group of researchers that set out to isolate actionable factors that contributed to an ethical organization.

It's a pretty broad spectrum to classify. Many would think an ethical organization is made from ethical leadership, how they serve the environment, or what their mission and vision is.

But this research team came up with three measurable factors that any organization an use to improve their ethics.

Don't Retaliate
The first thing that makes an ethical company is one that does not retaliate against employees who voice their concerns. Employees fear retaliation to some extent. And if they are reporting an ethical concern about their manager or some other higher-up, well just imagine the fear is doubled. And fear can make people keep quiet. Fear allowed unethical practices to persist at GM and Volkswagen even when many employees knew better. An ethical organization knows that employees are scared to come forward to report ethical concerns, so they do their best to create a culture where retaliation of any sort is not tolerated.

Ethical organizations reward employees not only for what they accomplish but also for how they accomplish it. It's kind of hard to do this - the key is not rewarding conduct that produces results while cutting ethical corners. Ethical organizations place attention on how results are achieved.

Resolve ethical issues when they arise. Employees tend to glance over organizational communications, however they pay more attention to an organization's actions carefully when unethical conduct is uncovered. "If a lot of foot soldiers are executed in an organizational crisis while the ringleader goes unpunished, employees will draw the right conclusion. On the other hand, if investigations into wrongdoing go to the top, you have made major progress toward establishing an ethical culture."

Here's how you can communicate your ethics reporting program to ensure you stay an ethical company.

eBook 5 Steps to Communicate Your Ethics Reporting Program

[source]The Truth About Ethical Organizations[/source]

photo Amanda Nieweler
About the Author
Amanda writes for WhistleBlower Security about ethics, compliance, workplace culture, and whistleblower hotlines. Amanda brings her nearly two decades of risk and compliance experience to the WBS blog where she is dedicated to helping people and companies promote speak-up cultures.

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