Sunday, January 4, 2009

HR and 6 new-year resolutions

Undoubtedly the issue of business ethics is being taken seriously across the world as people realize that the reputation and success of their organization are linked to their values they play out in times of crisis. The need to argue whether business ethics matter is slowly being laid to rest.

It certainly is time that we brought in ethics into organizations in a self-regulatory manner. It would work out in our favour in more ways than one and would be cost effective in the long run. Considering the fall of erstwhile financial giants, or who we thought were financial giants, it seems imperative that we re-examine, polish and refurbish our ethical code of conduct.

The writing is on the wall. We have to admit that virtue is sometimes its own reward.

The HR has a major role to play here. With the dawn of 2009 we need to be innovative and creative in ways which can combine private profit and public good. Good corporate citizenship cannot harm shareholder values.

To quote Unilever: “Economic growth must go hand in hand with sound environmental management, hearing unmet needs, offering equal opportunities worldwide, and maintaining highest safety and health standards.”
If we were to scrutinize how we can transform organizations, it melds into 6 principles that can be developed into an ethics programme which can be coalesced with the organizational values
Provide a written code of business ethics and conduct.
  • Train employees concerning their responsibilities.
  • Provide a free and open atmosphere.
  • Adopt procedures for voluntary disclosure.
  • Take ownership that this organization is yours.
  • Have a public accountability project.

Of course developing ethical code is not a one-off affair. It is a continuous process. Today we are talking of an empowering culture, a customer focused culture. Then isn’t it time to talk, act, live a holistic ethics oriented culture too?

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