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Once & For All: Stopping Sexual Harassment at Work

Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Ethics’

Training Success Story: CRM’s “Ethics 4 Everyone’’

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Ethics Training CoursesThe ROE Report Results: A recent “Return on Expectation” (ROE) study has shown that CRM Learning’s “Ethics for Everyone” video training program exceeds customer expectations nearly 100 percent of the time. Both individuals and organizations have rated their experience as “highly satisfactory” in an independently-conducted study.

About the Video: “Ethics 4 Everyone” combines real-world situations and practical advice for anyone confronted with ethical issues at work. The training program teaches participants to apply a quick “Ethical Action Test” to various situations – and the entire video runs only 15 minutes. A bonus segment for organizational leaders is also included. (more…)

Workers Satisfied With Company’s Social Responsibility Are More Engaged and Positive

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Satisfied to be Part of the Team at WorkEmployees who are satisfied with their company’s commitment to social responsibility have positive views about their employer in several other key areas – including its sense of direction, competitiveness, integrity, interest in their well-being, and employee engagement, according to a survey conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, specialists in attitude research.

70 percent of employees are positive about their employer’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR), according to the survey of 1.6 million employees from more than 70 organizations.
Employees who have a favorable view of an organization’s corporate social responsibility commitment in such areas as environmental awareness are also positive about several factors important to its success, including:

— Senior management’s integrity

— Senior management’s inspirational sense of direction

— Organization’s competitiveness in the marketplace

— Company’s interest in employees’ well-being

— Employees’ engagement or pride in their organization

“Businesses that recognize the importance of social responsibility often have employees who tend to be more satisfied with their jobs, adopt similar values, and become more committed to achieving success within the industry,” said Douglas Klein, President of Sirota Survey Intelligence.

Integrity of Senior Management
Among employees with a positive view of their organization’s CSR commitment, 71% also rate senior management as having high integrity. When employees are negative about their employer’s CSR activities, only 21% rate senior management as having high integrity.
“Employee views of CSR are connected with a broader assessment of the character of senior leadership – meaning that management can be relied on to follow through on what they say,” said Klein. “However, leaders who are seen as incapable of following through are unlikely to be regarded as being socially responsible.”

Senior Management’s Inspirational Sense of Direction
67% of employees who are satisfied with their employer’s CSR commitment feel that senior management has a strong sense of direction. When employees are negative about their company’s CSR activities, only 18% feel senior management has a strong sense of direction.
“Effective leaders connect the dots for their employees,” said Klein. “When employees question the time or money spent on certain social initiatives or any other activities, an effective leader will demonstrate the strategic importance these programs play in supporting the interests of the business.”

Employee Engagement
86% of employees who are satisfied with their organization’s CSR commitment have high levels of engagement. When employees are negative about their employer’s CSR activities, only 37% are highly engaged.
“A sense of pride is a major driver of both morale and business results, because people want to be associated with a successful organization that has a positive image,” said Klein. “Insightful leaders recognize that strategic CSR enhances morale, and higher morale contributes to better business results.

Interest In Employees’ Well-Being
75% of employees who are satisfied with their company’s commitment to CSR feel their employer is interested in their well-being. When employees are negative about their company’s CSR commitment, only 17% say their company is interested in their well-being – the lowest finding in the study.
“Employees do not divide the moral compass of their company into one part for employees and another part for the community,” said Klein. “Their employers’ commitment to corporate social responsibility is critical in conveying that the organization acts in their best interests, and is dedicated to treating them fairly and equitably.”

Marketplace Competitiveness
82% of employees who are satisfied with their employer’s CSR commitment also feel their organization is highly competitive in the marketplace. When employees are negative about their company’s CSR activities, only 41% feel it is competitive in the marketplace.
“To employees, CSR and business success go together. Companies that enhance their reputations through CSR perform better, and generate greater employee loyalty from workers,” said Klein.

Ethics are Imperative for Success

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Ethics in the Workplace Training In today’s challenging work environment (demanding schedules and deadlines, fierce competition and difficult economy) it can be easy to forgo ethical decisions if they conflict with success. However, upholding ethics in every aspect of the workplace is imperative. Maintaining a high level of ethical behavior helps maintain organizational values and reputation. Lost profits can be recovered, but a ruined reputation typically cannot. Sometimes, when in the midst of an ethical dilemma, the right path isn’t always obvious. The following videos will help clear up any “gray areas” and teach employees how to uphold organizational integrity at all times.

Ethics 4 Everyone – The title speaks for itself. This powerful video provides an overview on ethics for every type of organization. Employees are encouraged to use an ethical action test when faced with tough decisions and are given tips for solving common ethical problems. (more…)

The Ethics of Emotional Intelligence

Friday, August 19th, 2011

by Gael O’Brien

Recent leadership failures in several high profile companies draw increased attention to the reality that achieving goals – performance – is only part of the formula for success. Another critical piece is the way leaders do it, which impacts others – relationships.  Leaders who are low in self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills lack something called “emotional intelligence” (EQ), a behavior model popularized by the work of Daniel Goleman. (more…)

Free Activity: Ethical Polling

Thursday, March 25th, 2010


  • This activity runs more smoothly if you prepare a Summary Sheet in advance, preferably on a flipchart page or a whiteboard. See below for an example.
  • You will need help displaying the results of this activity. Identify a participant in advance who can help you quickly, accurately and legibly tabulate the responses on the flipchart sheet that you have prepared.

Introduce Activity/Give Instructions

Pass out the Handout and Scoring Sheet to each participant.

REVIEW the instructions on the Handout, and explain that their opinions—the way they label the behaviors— will be anonymously collected, summarized and then discussed with the group.

The Handout asks what category each of 20 behaviors belongs to:
Clearly ethical, clearly unethical, or some shade of gray.

ALLOW participants 5 – 6 minutes to work through the list and categorize each of the behaviors as E, L, M, D, or U.

Once participants have finished filling out the Handout, direct them to summarize their own results on the Scoring Sheet.  Participants should not write their names on this scoring sheet when they turn it in to the facilitator.

ALSO MAKE SURE participants understand that they are to list the actual numbers of the items in the boxes, rather than a count of how many items they labeled in each category.  (This makes it possible to tabulate the responses.)

Sample Summary Sheet: Flipchart/Whiteboard

In advance of the session or while participants are working on their Handouts, prepare your whiteboard or flipchart page to display a summary of the data.

Directions: Set up a flipchart sheet or whiteboard as shown below (this table has been shortened to save space). Summarize the participants’ responses (from their Scoring Sheets) by placing tally (or hatch) marks in the table below.  Tally marks will enable the group to see the patterns of the responses.

Item E L M D U


Polling Activity Debrief

Collect all Scoring Sheets and summarize them on your whiteboard or flipchart. When the participants’ individual tallies have been recorded for all to see, proceed with the debrief.


  • What makes categorizing some of the behaviors difficult?  Which items were difficult to categorize?
  • Can a behavior be “slightly unethical?” or “Close, but not quite unethical?”
  • What criteria did you use to categorize your choices?  In other words, as you grouped the behaviors on the list, what were your choices based on?

               Possible examples of criteria:

  •            • Would the violation be discovered?
  •            • Were people emotionally affected?
  •            • Were significant dollars involved?
  •            • Would this behavior physically harm anyone?
  • Do you think people consider impacts or consequences when they are making their choices about ethical issues?  Which impacts make the most difference?

Discuss the results displayed on the flipchart summary. Look for certain item numbers.  Were most of the behaviors listed as E or U, or were many more listed in the gray columns?  ASK participants what patterns stand out for them.

POINT OUT items (behaviors) that have the widest range of responses.  Have the group discuss why these items might have received the range of responses they did.

SUGGEST that a possible explanation for items having a range of responses (tally marks in several categories) or items where a large number of responses labeled the behavior as M is that the organization’s policies and guidance on these behaviors might not be clear enough.

As time permits, discuss other patterns participants see in the responses. It’s likely that very rich discussions will occur around the issues raised by this exercise.


  • As we gain experience in the workplace, we tend to see things less often in terms of black and white.  Where we draw the line between right and wrong tends to become a bit blurry.
  • When right and wrong become blurry — when we are operating in the gray zone — we should fall back on the guidance of our experience, or the guidance of rules, procedures, and laws for direction.
  • It’s not possible for organizations to guide every specific behavior, or to have a rule or regulation to cover every situation. That’s why it comes down to the individual and to his or her choices.
  • Employees need to understand the intent of the organization’s code of conduct, and have an understanding of its values (and for the organization to have clear values).

Handout: Ethical Polling

Directions: What category does each of the behaviors on the list belong to?

E Clearly Ethical.
L Light Gray. Ethical, but a little fuzzy.
M Medium Gray/Fuzzy. Not obviously unethical, but not really ethical either.
D Dark Gray.  Shady.  Leaning strongly toward unethical.
U Clearly Unethical.


1. Conducting personal business on company time (sending personal messages on company e-mail; extending lunch breaks to run errands).
2. Using or taking company resources for personal purposes (home office, kids’ school, etc.).
3. Calling in sick when you’re not really sick.
4. Going to work to meet a deadline when you’re obviously sick or contagious.
5. Telling or passing along an ethnically- or sexually-oriented joke.
6. Engaging in negative gossip or spreading rumors about someone.
7. Bad-mouthing the company or management to co-workers.
8. Bad-mouthing the company or management to people outside the company.
9. Reading information or documents on a co-worker’s desk or computer screen without their knowledge.
10. Passing along personal information shared in confidence.
11. Ignoring an organizational rule or procedure.
12. Explaining behavior with, “No one told me not to do this.”
13. Failing to follow through on something promised by a date/time without renegotiating the deadline.
14. Withholding work-related information shared in confidence that others may need.
15. Letting someone fail at a task to strengthen your own position.
16. Accepting credit for something that someone else did.
17. Manipulating or withholding information in order to make a sale.
18. Failing to acknowledge or failing to attempt to correct an obvious mistake.
19. Expecting someone else to check your work for errors or flaws.
20. At tax time, making two copies of your personal returns on the office copier.


Polling Scoring Sheet

Directions: Write the numbers of the items on the Handout that fall into each of the following categories. For example, if you marked items 4, 7 and 12 as E (Ethical), write 4, 7, 12 in the large box on the E (Ethical) row.  Do the same for each category (E, L, M, D, U).


Scale Items at this Level
Light Gray
Medium Gray
Dark Gray

Please hand this form to the workshop leader after recording your responses.
Do not write your name on the form.

This activity is excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the video training program Ethics 4 Everyone.

Need more help in this area? Ethics 4 Everyone provides a powerful ethics overview for any type of organization. In just 15 minutes, viewers see why focusing on ethics is key to organizational and individual success. They are also given an ethical action test, tips for solving ethical dilemmas, and more.

Workplace Responsibility Toward Environment Gaining Foothold

Monday, March 10th, 2008

By Kathy Gurchiek

Half of HR professionals surveyed say their organization has a formal or informal policy on environmental responsibility, and another 7 percent plan to adopt a policy in the next 12 months. That’s among the findings of a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) online survey of 391 HR professionals conducted September 2007 and released in January 2008.

“The impact of our daily activities on the environment and the desire to go green has expanded from just individuals to organizations,” writes lead researcher Justina Victor in the report. “More organizations are volunteering to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. Local municipalities are encouraging businesses to become greener by offering incentives. In the near future, ‘being green’ could become the norm.”

Encouraging employees to be more environmentally friendly at work—making double-sided photocopies, using energy-efficient bulbs for desk lamps, lowering blinds in the summer to conserve energy, powering down computers that are inactive after a few minutes—was the main way their organizations were environmentally responsible, HR professionals said

Other top practices they cited include:
• Offering recycling programs for office products, including plastic, glass, cans and Styrofoam.
• Using energy-efficient lighting systems and equipment, such as occupancy sensors; using Energy Star equipment; and changing from desktop to laptop computers.
• Installing automatic shutoff for equipment.
• Buying or leasing refurbished goods such as toner cartridges, copiers, printers, fax machines, retread tires and re-refined oil.
• Promoting walking, biking and use of public transit.
• Partnering with suppliers and companies that are environmentally friendly.
• Minimizing pollution, such as the air and water emissions during production.
• Participating in or sponsoring projects and events in the community, such as plant-a-tree day and fundraisers for a local nature preserve.

When SHRM asked 504 non-HR employees, in a separate but related survey, what was the most important environmental practice that organizations can perform, a majority pointed to donating or discounting used office furniture and supplies to employees or local charities.
In addition, they cited using water-conserving plumbing fixtures such as faucet aerators and low-flow toilets, and offering recycling programs for old cell phones and other selected personal products.

Getting the Word Out
Among the HR professionals who said their employer has a policy of being environmentally responsible, a majority (63 percent) communicate their policy through in-house newsletters or other publications. Some include that commitment among their stated goals (40 percent); mission or vision statement (38 percent); annual report (23 percent) and an environmental report (10 percent).
Contributing toward society—being a good corporate citizen and embracing ethical considerations—is the main reason why organizations should take a greener attitude, both HR professionals and employees said.

In fact, contribution to society is the key driver of their environmentally responsible programs, according to almost seven out of 10 HR professionals and one-third of non-HR employees. Other top reasons HR cited included environmental and economic considerations, while non-HR employees saw their employers’ programs as part of a good public relations strategy.

“I am seeing a real trend among small companies I work with,” commented Nancy C. Nelson, SPHR, and a member of SHRM’s Corporate Social Responsibility Special Expertise Panel, in the report. “They want to adopt ‘green’ business practices, separate from any compliance requirement that may come into play,” noted Nelson. The director of HRProse LLC was among 10 external reviewers and contributors to the survey report.

Such programs foster improved morale and a stronger public image, both HR and non-HR employees said, and HR professionals at small organizations were more apt to see such a program result in improved morale.

Fellow panel member and The Hermann Group President Gerlinde Hermann thinks green initiatives, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in general, are tools for recruiting young workers but warns organizations they must back up their talk with action. She noted that “these potential employees check the background of organizations and talk with employees or past employees to find out for themselves” whether the organization delivers what it promises. “Better to have genuine green/CSR initiatives which are grassroots and inexpensive than to have a massive promo campaign involving significant funding—it’s the realness that is the selling feature,” Hermann said in the report.

It can be a retention tool as well. Sixty-one percent of employees whose employer participated in practices that were friendly to the environment said they are “very likely” or “likely” to stay at the organization because of its environmentally responsible programs. Despite these reasons for being more environmentally responsible, the cost of implementing and of maintaining them are the top barriers for taking action (85 percent and 74 percent, respectively), HR professionals said.

Lack of management support is the third largest barrier HR saw to being environmentally responsible. While 43 percent of HR professionals said their departments were involved directly in such a program at their organization, creating and implementing it starts with the senior management team or an employee taskforce or committee, a majority of HR professionals and non-HR employees said.
The effort doesn’t have to be big and splashy, though. “It is possible for every organization to provide some level of environmentally responsible practices,” SHRM CSR Special Expertise Panel member Victoria Johnson, PHR, noted in the report.

Such programs can benefit employers in many ways, according to the report. “A greener workplace can mean productive and healthy employees,” Victor writes, “and [can strengthen] an organization’s financial bottom line through operating efficiencies and innovations.”

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News. She can be reached at kgurchiek@shrm.org

7 Ways to Promote Corporate Social Responsibility

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Corporate Social Responsibility – or CSR – is a business strategy with a growing currency in the US and around the world. CSR argues that organizations have a responsibility to multiple stakeholders in the conduct of their business, and not just to the shareholders. It is about businesses assuming responsibilities that go well beyond the scope of simple commercial relationships.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines CSR as “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large”.

A growing number of research projects and surveys reveal strong linkages between an organization’s CSR activities and improvements in a company’s traditional performance drivers, such as competitiveness, market positioning, investor relations, recruiting and risk management. There are now scores of investment funds available to people who wish to invest in companies or producers that are socially and environmentally responsible.

Although this definition may be at odds with certain financial expectations of maximizing shareholder value, American companies are becoming much more aware of their responsibilities to the communities and markets in which they operate. And they are vigorously, but not universally, embracing these objectives.

Indeed, corporate annual reports are indicating significant citizenship activities that add value to their stakeholders. PepsiCo, for example, clearly articulates its responsibilities regarding the environment and community affairs. It has established measurement indexes for human, environmental, and talent sustainability that impacts executive decision making. Kellogg’s donates over 20 million dollars of their products each year to fight world hunger. In 2005, Ben & Jerry’s opened a store in Austin, Texas for a community organization that helps at-risk youth and families. The store provides job opportunities for the community’s clients and all profits from the store go directly to the organization. Ben & Jerry’s does not collect a franchise fee.

Regionally, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have established state-wide organizations that provide resources, share best practices, and discuss public policy issues related to CSR practices. The Maine Businesses for Social Responsibility (www.mebsr.org) is an organization made up of diverse businesses who believe, in theory and in practice, that companies can be a powerful force for positive change in their communities in which they conduct their operations. Their mission statement is quite clear: “Successful management of the dual bottom line of profitability and social responsibility will be the goal of every business in the state.”

CSR can be defined by many variables. Yet more and more stakeholders are requesting and demanding that companies in their communities and portfolios focus as much attention to their CSR as they do to their financials.

Human Resources shares the lead in advancing and articulating the company’s approach to CSR.
In the quest for top notch employees, recruiters at colleges are routinely being asked about their company’s commitment to and examples of CSR. Generation X’ers and Generation Y’ers are aggressive in their desire to work for companies that are socially responsive in addition to their financial and business acumen.

Corporate Social Responsibility will not solve all of society’s ills, but it will go along way to making the world a better place. In corporate terms, CSR makes good business sense. It gives everyone a reason to smile. It is what the future of business is all about.

Here are some suggestions for Human Resources leaders on how to promote corporate social responsibility within their organizations:

1. Define corporate social responsibility for your company or industry.

What works for a bank or furniture manufacturer may be significantly different from a bottling company or a grocery store chain.

2. Conduct extensive and continual research on the concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, mentioned above, and the Global Reporting Initiative (www.globalreporting.org) are two excellent research sources.

3. Establish metrics for measuring the impact of the company’s CSR practices.

For example, what percentage of after tax dollars is used to support these activities? How does it compare to other comparable companies? How many labor hours per month or per year are set aside for CSR activities? Quantitative metrics are easier to defend and promote than qualitative metrics.

4. Involve employees in defining and advancing CSR.

Form ad-hoc groups to decide how best to be appropriately socially responsible with the resources available. Give them the authority and responsibility to figure out a way to make it happen. They will do it far faster than some corporate committee.

5. Keep track of all measurable costs.

As much as the company wants to be socially responsible, it also has an obligation to be fiscally accountable to other shareholders;

6. Communicate to everyone – sometimes subtly, sometimes loudly.

Publicize your activities internally to all employees and externally to all other stakeholders as appropriate. Invite civic, religious, and corporate leaders in to show what you are doing and encourage them to join you in their efforts.

7. Establish positive and pro-active relationships with other socially responsible companies.

There is power in numbers and they are always a great source of ideas that might work for your organization.

Copyright 2007
Ken Moore is an organizational development consultant in Albany, NY. He is an adjunct professor of strategic management at SUNY-Albany and the Union Graduate College in Schenectady, NY. He is a 1971 graduate of Nasson College in Springvale, ME.



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