Most of us would say we are ethical in our business practices. But it’s becoming more important for organisations to be able to show and tell exactly how they embed, track and communicate those ethics. Its ability to do this well impacts a business in two ways.
Firstly, an ethical culture is now a significant factor in attracting and retaining top talent. Secondly, a company’s ethics and compliance track record almost always form part of compliance and risk reviews when onboarding a third party.
Being an employer of choice
Since 2016, the IT industry has grown four times faster than other industries, partly due to the accelerated digital adoption during the pandemic.1
And since 2005, tech sector jobs have grown 66% compared to an average growth rate of 35% across the economy 1. But global events have seen all industries struggling to fill vacancies.
Employees, especially those under 45, value a company’s ethics more than previous generations. Data from a US consulting firm found they were more likely to quit over company values.2 This is attributed to them “having grown up in more diverse spaces, and their values are increasingly being reflected in the workplace.”
If IT businesses want to bring good people into their organisation and keep the great people they have, ethics (and values) need to be visible and lived. It’s no good just saying you believe something; you have to demonstrate how it shows up in your work.
So how do you promote ethical behaviour? The HBR paper, How to Design an Ethical Organisation, suggests weaving your company’s ethics into performance evaluations to highlight their importance and encourage good behaviour. Asking your employees to rate their peers or leaders on how they demonstrate your organisation’s values keeps them front of mind and gives you as an employer a benchmark on how successful your ethical efforts are.
A report from Ethisphere found that the most ethical companies recognised and rewarded employees for behaving ethically. One created a program where compliance teams gave recognition cards to employees who reported misconduct in good faith. These cards were redeemable for perks, including paid time off.
We’ve created metrics that focus on saving our customers money at DEC. We reward our employees on this value instead of KPIs around how much they can sell.
Being a partner of choice
When you are an ethical and values-led company, you want to partner with like-minded organisations. Leading companies expect the same level of integrity and ethical business conduct from third parties as they do from their own employees, and it’s top of mind for their compliance teams.
Survey results3 from the World’s Most Ethical Companies show that undertaking due diligence focused on ethics and compliance before onboarding a third party is ubiquitous. And 86% of respondents impose a Third Party Code of Conduct to further reduce their risk and liability.
Interestingly, 97% take additional measures when it comes to sustainability. The World Economic Forum reported that the sustainability revolution accelerated faster than expected, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Investors, stakeholders and customers demand information on corporate sustainability—creating an incentive for IT businesses to manage sustainability throughout their value chain.
At DEC, we’ve gone the whole way and become a 3P business. Our DNA is focussing on our (1P) people to be able to offer fantastic opportunities in providing outstanding (2P) profitable service to our clients whilst having a positive impact on the (3P) planet.
Being ethical means taking action. It means communicating its importance with your employees and giving them tools and incentives to behave ethically. It means not tying shareholder price to sales. It means doing the right thing and celebrating it, including missing out on profit.
We will never stamp out all unethical behaviour because it’s part of the human condition. Still, we can reduce lying, deception and manipulation (especially in sales) and create thriving businesses full of good people doing good.
At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple – do what is RIGHT, even when no one is looking.
DEC – 20yrs of supporting our customers through volatile times. Let us help you today.