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Talking about ethical behavior in the workplace with author and professor Dr Steven even minutes so documents. Let's switch gears a little bit and talk about the challenges that employees face when it comes to ethical behavior in the workplace Start out by telling me if you can what your experience has been as some of the more difficult scenarios involving employees that you've uncovered uh or for or been exposed to over the years The one that I would say that stands out the most is when their superior does something something wrong and they struggle over how to report it. Nobody wants to Tattletale on their superior. We like to think we're loyal and employees. Worry about what's going to happen to them. There's an expression kill the Messenger. So the employee is as the Messenger. Hey look this person stole money from the company or is padding his expense account and being reimbursed for non employees expenses expenses. Should I report it to the head of accounting or whoever this real fewer there that they will suffer the consequences. I get a lot out of emails from employees ease. Who Send me confidential questions and I try to help them and that's clearly number number one and of course companies have to say that they want these things to be reported they WANNA take action? They don't want somebody feeling from. I'm them in a position of trust. Maybe they set up an anonymous hotline. That oftentimes works with whistle blowing in general. So it's through through retaliation factor Another thing that I hear from time to time is employees or an employee goop will complete a project. They'll do some work. They'll handle report to their superior who they are doing work for and he or she will take credit. Ah Work. That's so terribly here. He they hate that they Beside themselves they don't know what to do they just know. I know it's wrong but again. If you have a superior does these sort of things you can say to yourself. What will he or she do if I report them so again it comes back to the company culture and wanting these things to be reported so corrective action can be taken The other item I'd mentioned is a lot of confusion out there for employees. About what are the rules of the road with social media. Can they use social media work. When can they use it What can an employer do to monitor their behavior in their activities of the rules really have not caught up with technology and some companies have no social media policies or establish social media the Ethics so don't confuse they just don't know what can and cannot be done. So that's about the third one I I would say that I hear the most of the social media is interesting. So I've been litigating or litigating during my career when it was sort of the advent of social media and it becoming such a big part of the workplace and it really was confusing for everyone both the employers and the employees. Because you're right. Nobody knew what was going on the technology far. Outweighed everybody's getting up to speed on it I do think it's getting better. It's getting easier Everybody's becoming a little more comfortable with it and the boundaries are getting a little more defined like anything there's been enough litigation now people we're kind of starting to get a handle on it but The confusion and the fear of retaliation. I hear that a lot Because I get calls from employees asking about what do I do like like. You said the the moral wrong of somebody took credit for my work and then of course the more serious allegations where there's has actually been an implication of fraud or something where they feel. This tremendous need to step forward and yet there's that fear so that was interesting when you were talking in the beginning about ethics in general about being you know that it took being kind and all these other things that I thought you know what it takes it takes being strong. That's true because it takes a lot to you know to really face. It's easy for us to talk about but boy when you're in that situation it's really tough to suit to sort of stand up. Tell me in your opinion. What do you think employees can do to help improve the standards of ethics at their organization and beyond Beyond the you know alerting and using the hotlines and those sorts of things but what can May. What's in their control? You think think do you think that they can. They can actually help to make a positive impact. I always tell them to find somebody at work who they really are. We respect and can go to for advice because it's it's always a good thing to run your ideas by somebody before you take in action or report something now that may be easier said than done you know a lot of organizations. Do have people bro. Who can advise on? Actions may be formal or Kim informal. So that's that's very important. I think evolved with the things that I say to employees is to remember this one thing. which is it takes a long time to build older reputation for trust but not very long to destroy it absolutely being all we have to think of people like Harvey Weinstein Bernie Madoff Lance Armstrong? There is so many examples of people who are at the top of their game and then something came out that was of course terrible herbal and you know they destroy their reputation and never the same again then have viewed the same by society right so ethics ethics is a long term commitment. Sure I may be able to do something. Get Away with it. Maybe even profit but in the long run even if it doesn't come out take what am I going to continue to go down this road. What if somebody does find out and then they questioned me? My whole reputation has gone trust. This is essential in business if you can't trust employees to do the right thing then you can't trust them to do anything. Yeah I always talk about that in my I in my ethics trainings. The fact that you know well in your personal life you may not really care what people think you which is great if you can get to that point but in business you have to care it matters what people think of you if you WanNa if you WANNA get ahead You know if you WanNa have a good reputation than it really does matter and and I think ethics plays a huge huge part of that could credibility is everything you know. Your word really is your bond is kind of Corny as it sounds but that's true. Sure where do you think. Can you pinpoint a time where you think that ethics really started had to sort of become an awareness issue for organizations and employees alike. Oh Gee that's a great question It it's so hard I think a lot of people feel it's a relatively new phenomenon. I don't agree with that. I think we've been. I'm losing our moral compass over a long period of time now We could go back to the fact that ethics this is for the most part. It's not taught in schools anymore kids in the younger grades where they're most impressionable. They're not getting it. That's partly Lee because teachers don't WanNa feel like them moralizing. There may be afraid of what they say. It may be taken the wrong way or a parent complains is that somehow it's religious instruction talking about religious instruction. Most people are not as religious today as they were so. They're not getting getting it school. They're not getting to religious practices. Probably not being talked about at home. There are very few role models around around these days. I remember when I grew up. There were a lot it was even on TV. A lot of those old shows always had unethical message passage right right from the truth today so I think that's been the evolution of the culture that it's just been devalued over time time and we sort of normalized on ethical behavior Any civility has become normalized alive. How many times we see that on? TV Cable News wherever you want to look so there are no positive examples or very few you of why ethics is important. Why an individual or an organization should be ethical? Except as you say after they've done the deed and they're having to you know pay the price and all of a sudden ethics is important. Let's develop a code of ethics. Let's do this. Let's do do that. You have to be proactive with ethics not reactive to get the positive result. Yeah I I agree with with all that. It's it's such an interesting. I I love this topic. It's it's we could go on and on but as we wrap up for today can you give us. Maybe some tips cautionary retail some words of wisdom. Or maybe your thoughts for the future on this idea of ethics in the workplace Sure sure I I I think one thing I always tell Students Employees Think before you act always have it in the back of your mind that right you should live by the mantra. Do No harm harm. Nobody by your actions the this is one of three things so this is thinking before acting doing no harm and considering the consequences of your decision so I even tell my students and employees. So let's say you just had a negative encounter with somebody in the workplace. You WanNa set off you know you wanna go to computer go to social media a sendoff. This insulting tweet. Oh let's get a feel so good though. I know my point so I tell them to send naturally to themselves in an email communication overnight and then you feel the same way go ahead and do it but a lot of people they change. The heads will prevail. I love it because most of the time they tell you. Oh you know type it up and leave it but what you're saying is you get that great satisfaction in hitting the send button is really what you want to do. But you're sitting at to yourself so that's that's awesome. I love that. I love that piece of advice. Well well that's our show for today at documents. Thank you so much for joining us today..