Business ethics is about choice. What values guide us? What standards do we use? What principles are at stake? How do we choose between them? An ethical approach to any issue will inquire about ends (goals) and means (how we achieve these goals) and the relationship between the two. Beyond this, ethics involves a consideration of the consequences of our choices from a range of stakeholder perspectives. At the commercial level, ethics looks at how we choose to succeed in relation to others and how our ethical standards can directly impact the bottom line.
Business ethics is the depth dimension of any organisation, only truly tested in times of crisis. We work alongside our clients to anticipate ethical risks to avoid the sort of ethical meltdowns exposed by Royal Commissions. Guided by deep lever questions such as:
- How sound is your organisation’s corporate personality?
- Where are the risks to your image and reputation?
- How trusted is your brand and what values are associated with it?
- How well do your people know why the organisation exists, how it succeeds, how people should be managed?
- How do external stakeholders add or subtract value from your business?
We assist clients to manage the ethical dimension of everyday business decisions.
Workplace ethical dilemmas bank
We have developed an ethical dilemma bank of over 300 typical workplace dilemmas that speak to the typical organizational scenarios employees find themselves in. These cover all sectors and all industry and are used as source material to overlay with each organisation’s cultural context – choosing the risk areas and scenarios that best fit a client’s business and context.
These dilemmas pose several possible resolutions all with specific consequences for the organisation. They encourage participants to review issues from multiple stakeholder perspectives and encourage participants to make decisions that are informed by the organisation’s stated values.
We have also developed a library of DVD training materials that enable managers to facilitate ethical training sessions with their teams. Group co-operation in scenario solving encourages a greater insight into the different perspectives that can co-exist within a team and which can cause its members to misunderstand each other and respond in different ways to similar issues.
Participants quickly learn that, although there may be consensus around a decision, not everyone operates from the same motivations. This reveals the complexity of group dynamics and the need for company policies that set common standards.
Leader-led Training This is the key to employee engagement. We work with leaders to ensure there is a selection of materials designed for different workplace audiences and we target different risks to different levels within the organisation.
Relevance: This is the key to employee engagement. We work with leaders to ensure scenarios speak to the issues employees face daily and cannot be dismissed by employees saying; “this is not relevant to my day to day workplace situation”, as so often happens when off the shelf training materials are used.
Skills Transfer: All programs are based on skills transfer and designs are based on adult learning principles and processes in conjunction with relevant case studies and scenarios to maximise engagement. Our experience is that staffs need to participate in relevant scenarios in order to contextualise their own meaning, working through their personal responses and how these compare to company policy.
Setting the tone from the top: All materials can be customised to include introductions and commitment statements from senior executives. Engaging leaders in our ethical leadership workshops signals to all employees that ethics is valued and will be integral to the organisation’s ongoing success formula.
Flexibility All materials are capable of being delivered in various formats including:
- “Toolbox talks” by immediate managers
- Face to face workshop with workplace trainers,
- Multimedia or online formats
- To skill all employees in ethical based decision making using the organisation’s stated values
- To draw on the latest research from the school of behaviour ethics to show how workplace ethical issues arise and how employees can slide into unethical behavior patterns
- To develop participant skills in identifying possible ethical challenges in the workplace and how to apply ethical problem solving models, including the organisation’s stated values, as a decision making mechanism
- To develop skills in raising ethical issues and identify appropriate accountability channels
- Greater clarity and engagement with organisational codes of conduct and codes of ethics
- Heightened understanding of the broad arena of workplace ethics today including conflicts of interest, fraud and corruption and bullying workplace behaviour
- Heightened understanding of the boundaries between organizational and personal values and where each takes priority and how these shape personal accountability.
- Skill development in responding appropriately to what is expected in meeting the principles and values embedded in codes of conduct and codes of ethics
Business Ethics Training
An organisation can only be as ethical as its employees. We help build ethical organisations, one employee at a time.
Our experience is that ethics in a 21st Century context cannot be taught as an academic subject. Employees need to work with ‘real business world’ scenarios and be able to contextualize their own meaning making by working through their responses. Our content promotes the development of multiple perspectives and assists participants understand the consequences of their actions on different stakeholders.
Managers and HR practitioners need to develop the specific skills required to help employees respond to ethical challenges in the the ways leaders want them to. Our initiatives help managers become strong role models as well as as building strong ethical infrastructure to ”manage the system” so ethical issues do not emerge.
Participants are challenged to address the ethical challenges and issues that can emerge in their workplaces and apply ethical decisions making models to resolve these. Apathy is challenged by learning that focuses on :
- How organisational culture can corrupt and blindside employees
- How employees can justify unethical actions to themselves
- How personal accountability’s can be promoted to safeguard company reputation
- How issues of concern can be raised safely
Train the Trainer Program
Designed for appropriately qualified personnel to assist with ethics workshop roll out and to build expertise within the organisation. This module includes:
- A one day training session focusing on facilitation skills using appropriate workplace dilemmas and case studies
- A facilitator’s guide – a step by step guide to planning and leading an ethics workshop
- Practical ideas for implementing the training program including a guide on what to consider in customising materials for specific purposes such as including induction programs; management retreats;performance appraisals and coaching sessions
We have designed and facilitated a ‘Manager of Managers” ethics training program now in its fifth year delivering continuous improvement to this large enterprise. This program involved:
- the design of a facilitator’s guide
- the development of an ethical decision making model for all employees
- train the trainer workshops
- a dilemmas bank of issues for managers to work with their people
- supporting e learning materials
Graduate Intake Programs in business ethics and values
We have designed several engaging and practical business ethics and values modules for Financial sector graduate intake programs. Often these modules are developed in conjunction with the organisation’s leadership competency model and learning objectives include:
- To educate new recruits in the broad field of business ethics and governance and its relevance to their day to day workplace decisions and activities
- To develop participant skills in identifying possible ethical challenges in the workplace and how to apply ethical problem solving models to resolve these
- To assist new recruits to identify their personal ethical accountabilities
- To develop skills in raising ethical issues within an organisational context