Ed. Note-today we are please to have our initial guest post for the blog. Our guest author-Lindsay Walker is Content Developer at Customer Expressions Corp. Thomas Fox
There’s no point investing in and implementing an ethics and compliance program unless the time is spent integrating the program into every aspect of an organization. The need for companies to develop effective ethics and compliance programs has been acknowledged by several government agencies- examples are the SEC in the US and the government in the United Kingdom. Both groups have recently passed legislation or made amendments to existing guidelines, focusing heavily on the importance of ethics and compliance at all levels of an organization- especially at the top. Employees at each level contribute to the success of a company’s ethics and compliance program. Integrating ethics and compliance at each level helps ensure the message from the top makes it all the way down to the lower levels of the organization. Training, messages and other ethics and compliance initiatives must be developed to evolve with employees as they move through the company. That being said, employees at various levels need to be prepared to address different ethical issues they may encounter based on the role they play in the organization.
In many companies, employees report that the middle level is where ethics and compliance commitments break down. Since many of the lower level employees report directly to those in the middle, a commitment to ethics and compliance from middle managers is equally as important as it is at the top. Top level managers can use a number of techniques to assist mid-level managers in understanding the role they play in creating an ethical workplace. In the article “Ethics and the Middle Manager: Creating Tone in The Middle,” by Kirk O. Hanson, the author lists 8 ways top management can motivate middle level employees to reinforce an organization’s ethical culture:
2. Top executives must explicitly ask middle managers what dilemmas arise in implementing the ethical commitments of the organization in the work of that group
3. Top executives must give general guidance about how values apply to those specific dilemmas.
4. Top executives must explicitly delegate resolution of those dilemmas to the middle managers.
5. Top executives must make it clear to middle managers that their ethical performance is being watched as closely as their financial performance.
6. Top executives must make ethical competence and commitment of middle managers a part of their performance evaluation.
7. The organization must provide opportunities for middle managers to work with peers on resolving the hard cases.
8. Top executives must be available to the middle managers to discuss/coach/resolve the hardest cases.”
About the Author
Lindsay Walker is a writer for the i-Sight Investigation Software blog at Customer Expressions. The i-Sight blog focuses on ethics and compliance news, policy development and amendments, industry best practices and investigation tips and techniques. i-Sight provides customized case management solutions for HR, employee relations, corporate security, privacy and ethics and compliance investigations. She can be reached at LWalker@customerexpressions.com.
This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of the author. Neither the author nor this blog site is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, legal advice, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such legal advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified legal advisor. Neither the author nor this blog site, its affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person or entity that relies on this publication. Thomas R. Fox, 2010