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To workplace perspective where we are striving to raise the bar at workplaces everywhere today. We're talking with author and professor Dr Steven Mintz about ethics in the workplace. They call Dr Mintz. The ethic sage and I can't wait to hear what sage advice. Ace yes I went there. He has to share with us on this very timely topic. It's going to be a great show. Don't go away. We'll be right back. The opinions expressed by guests on workplace perspective respective do not necessarily reflect those of Sapphire legal. Or it's attorneys. Ed should not be considered legal advice. You're listening to workplace perspective and Employment Law podcast gas presented by Sapphire legal. Welcome back to our listeners and welcome to workplace perspective. Dr Mintz thank you so every night. We're super excited but Before we get started. Let's do what we do. And have you tell our listeners. A little bit about what you do who you are and what you do. Well thank you You mentioned I write right under the name. Ethics sage sickly is my way of saying. I've accumulated a lot of wisdom over the years and we said like to think so With respect to ethics having taught it at the university level for thirty plus years and consulted with some companies on ethics issues issues and I just published a book on ethics deals with Happiness and meaning in life and how being ethical person yes and can improve your personal relationships workplace interactions and our lives on social media. That's Great I. I totally agree with that. It so it's difficult but it always feels good to do the ethical thing to do the right thing before we get started And as we join into our you you don't kind of into our topic Why don't you I kind of tell us what you mean? When you talk about ethical behavior in a workplace context? We'll actually we have to to start with what ethics is in general because the workplace. It's just one outlet for behavior but in general wiki go back to the golden within rule. And how do we treat other people Most people would agree that being kind compassionate fair minded respectful respectful of others are good ways to act ethical ways to act so we start with that and then we put it in the workplace context. We're talking talking. About how companies treat their employees and other stakeholders how they make decisions whether they consider the consequences for quences of their actions on those who will be affected by those actions. Okay so as you're talking talking I'm kind of thinking it's like. It's it's more than a moral compass. Would you agree with that or no. Well I think you have to have a moral compass. If for no other reasons ventoux recognize there are ethical issues because if we don't recognize it and that's part of the problem I think today not only in the workplace but society to people recognize they even have an ethical issue which again we could say is sure your actions and decisions affect others so how you treat them is an ethical issue but a lot of ethics is common sense as well. I mean we shouldn't shout at people people in the workplace because we have a difference of opinion we should be able to discuss our differences openly with variety. Of course this is something. That's the problem in society in general today. Oh I agree. I do civility training and and it's near endured my heart that topic as well and and I I really agree. It is common sense but it's funny. How many times we need to be reminded about you? Know about about the basic sort of things and always teaching my Any harassment trainings that one way to combat unethical behavior were harassing retaliatory discriminatory conduct is to impart to employees to train to teach on the power of ethical behavior. And how you can stem those behaviors by creating more ethical workplace In in that regard. Let's let's jump into it. How do you think well? I'm curious about this. Do you think that you can teach ethics to an organization. I say that because I do think that through their employees you can Dan but I'm talking about the structure the the entity that is the organization. Do you do you think you can teach ethics to the structural organization innovation. Well I always get those questions from students. Stay at some of them. Don't believe I teach ethics to them so and I say look I could teach it whether you'll learn it or not is another issue absolutely so you can certainly teach it at the organizational level level. But you have to have an open minded leadership that they want to learn these things evaluate their own behavior and systems and be open to changing to have ethical organization because they are after all the leaders in the workers are GonNa take their cue from what the leaders. Yeah Yeah. I agree with that. We've talked about that on on a lot of our shows With regard to employee engagement and corporate culture and all that kind of stuff and I think that ethic ethic just ethics just sort of around itself sort of into that How do you have you found the organization sort of come to the realization in your experience? Have you had an experience. I guess where organizations have sort of come to the realization that hey I think we have an issue that needs to be addressed What are those beyond the beyond the obvious? You know being sued for unethical behavior but on a on a more. Oh you know sort of everyday average situation if you have you come across any scenarios like that. Sure it's usually when the organization have systems in place for employees to report things that they think are unethical. Something going wrong in the company company you mentioned sexual harassment. That's certainly a good example. Love it and employees have to feel that they won't don't be retaliated against for making these assertions whether it's sexual harassment or financial statement when fraud so what employees tend to look for is what we call an ethical tone at the top meaning. A culture is said that the company takes this seriously and they can set that tone simply through policies. Simply by acting leans away. They're asking the employees act. You know it's not do. Would I say not what I do. Not that kind of culture. So it's it's you know it's measuring an ethical culture is. How do you do business rather than what you do in business? So how you do. It says a lot about your ethical standards and absolutely companies can come to that realization but it usually usually means they have Ethical leaders at the top. Yeah I I I agree I you and I think ascribed to Sorta the same philosophy that it's really ethics really comes down to kind of what you do when nobody's watching it and I think that even for organizations innovations they think people are always watching but I don't think that's the case. Do you know I think people in organizations tend to think Unfortunately they can get away with things because people are not watching or what. Their behavior is the actions they take are not GonNa get become known of course these days with social so media The twenty four seven cycle digital media. Most things do eventually get uncovered. But maybe companies haven't come to that realization illustration yet but that's when they get into trouble and that's of course Something that they have to prevent it just a matter of sending a message that ethical behavior will be rewarded. Unethical behavior will not be rewarded. May Be punished for it now how you do that. An example of the devil is in the details but it can't be done through performance evaluation just incorporating unethical measure That that sort of thing that idea about about sort of creating an atmosphere that really makes it easy to do the right thing and kind of difficult all to do the wrong thing. I think. That's that's kind of what you're saying as well and I like that because it it really does make it easier so that when someone if you can create that that environment that really does create this this idea that when someone does behave in an unethical manner they sort of stand out from the crowd and it makes it easy to shine a light on that person and say okay you. Here's our issue and we need to address it. So employees tend to act the way they think they will be rewarded whether it's producing large amount of sales market share or being ethical so just have to put ethics on that same. Yeah Yeah because the flip side of that right. Is that those very same things. The desire for reward the desire for recognition thought got. That's also a gateway or an alleyway towards unethical behavior. Don't you think well it can be and the one thing I always. He's reluctant to say about reward. Ethical behavior is we should be ethical. Because it's the right thing to do because it makes us feel good about about what we've done. We've helped somebody We've we've we've done things that have produced positive results for the company and unethical behavior. You generally does not in the short term it will in the long term. Tend to catch up with you so yeah I think that's very important. I I read the survey that that said that companies that when a company sort of values ethical performance That misconduct is lowered. Which I as? I've already kind of scribe arrive to that because I think that's a way to get rid of unwanted risk sort of behaviors but I think the survey was something like twenty percent of the workers you know had had reported seeing misconduct in companies with strong ethical cultures compared to eighty eight percent who witnessed wrongdoing companies with ethically week cultures and with that kind of in my what do you see as some of the more common ethical danger zones from a company perspective Well there's there's quite a few of them. It's the tone at the top that I mentioned before that top management is always sending this message about ethical behavior. Companies need to stress. A sort of what I would call stakeholder capitalism rather than shareholder old capitalism which is the addition on the ocean to maximize profits if employees see that companies care about a broad group all stakeholders including of course themselves their own. Well being that they're treated fairly but also customers customer comes first that sort of mentality -ality dealing with suppliers and other stakeholders that tends to give a lot of confidence of employees. That the company is Sir Chris About Ethical behavior. And we're going to take our cue from that Companies have to avoid basically what I would say he is rationalizing unethical behavior. That happens a lot especially in the field that I grew up in which is accounting and in financial reporting where they put pressure on an employee to go along with financial wrongdoing and they basically say look. This is a one time request. Just go along this first time this one time. We won't ask you to do it again. Well rarely does it work that way. Because why don't you go along with wrongdoing you start to slide down the proverbial ethical slippery slope where it becomes more difficult to turn around. And let's say we claim the moral high ground. Yeah absolutely absolutely. Well we are. Time is going fast. We're going to take a quick break and when we come back more thoughts from Dr Men's Don ecobill ethical behavior in the workplace. Stay with us. We'll be right back I'm more resourceful than I thought. My suit can still still make an impression. My Video Games are still game. Changers and my lamp can bring others a bright future because when I donate my stuff to goodwill helps.