03 Oct Protips on Building an Ethical Workforce
A couple of days ago, I sat alongside my colleagues during a routine training program. We had hours of workshops that day: team building, group exercises, the company overview… the list goes on. We also had – much to my delight – lots of pizza.
During the training session on company ethics and values, we explored strategies for what to do when a difficult situation occurs in the workplace. The presenter mentioned a handful of valuable ideas, but her most notable tip was to reach out to a trusted mentor. Turns out, when it comes to company ethics, mentors are far more important than just telling you how to find the HR Department. Effective mentors who have been well matched reinforce norms, espouse company values, and create responsible employees who know – and abide by – company ethics. Setting a new hire up with a compatible mentor, means that the new hire will not only be more prepared, but they will be more ethical, more motivated, and more in touch with company culture.
When mentors are in place,
At its core, company culture depends on leadership to be engaging, clear, and consistent. First, mentors can help bolster ethically-based leadership needs. Ethics and values are not universal. Mentors can model appropriate company ethics, and help employees navigate them. Research suggests that employees who feel engaged with leadership are more likely to integrate company ethics and values into their deeply held beliefs. A crucial aspect of any company is that employees need to feel heard. Now, I am not talking about the typical workplace dissent, but rather, simple affirmations, acknowledgements, and critiques go a long way to make an employee feel engaged – and engagement is key to reinforcing values. Having a mentor means that each employee has a consistent, and individual opportunity to engage. It is important to remember that company culture cannot exist without placing value on the contribution of all employees, management or otherwise. One-on-one mentor/mentee pairings is an easy way for everyone to be involved.
Second, because the relationship between mentors and mentees is highly personalized, mentors can disseminate information more effectively than more traditional forms of information sharing. When issues or new problems arise, mentors can check in with mentees to make sure not only was the information received, but that it was understood.
Finally, the best thing about company culture and ethics is that they are always adapting: adapting to new clients, to new challenges, and to new discoveries. However, change can be difficult to navigate, and employees in an organization benefit from mentors during these times. When mentors are in place, this means that employees always have a consistent person to turn to when company needs shift.
Getting employees on board with vital company ethics takes time. Company ethics are not something an employee learns from a training manual, but rather through consistent attention, discussion, and investment.
At the heart of eMentorConnect® (www.ementorconnect.com) is a cloud-based solution that makes knowledge transfer simple, meaningful, and scalable. It is fully customizable, offering client branding, client technology integration, and the ability to import existing training assets. The platform is also mobile device-friendly, browser neutral, and features live chat support for every user.