A front-line employee looks for cues about what is important to his boss. The boss, in turn, looks for cues about what’s important to her boss. And so on, so forth, all the way to the top. If doing things the right way is important to those at the top, the entire organization will enjoy an ethical culture.
How can those at the top demonstrate the importance they place on ethical behavior? Here are a few ideas:
- They make their expectations clear, at every opportunity, whether in private or on social media. These expectations are discussed in the hiring process.
- They extend trust to employees, allowing them to experiment and to fail on their way to success.
- They help employees connect their individual work to the greater good created by the organization, to instill a sense of purpose.
- They offer growth opportunities, tailored to each employee’s aspirations, fueling their potential.
- They increase compensation and grant promotions only after a successful 360 evaluation based on ethical and compliant behavior.
- They avoid the use of emotional and financial pressures to meet goals.
- They ask employees how they intend to achieve their goals.
- They separate from the company any employee engaged in a breach of trust – swiftly.
With actions like these, no one need to guess what is important to their boss.