Every year, Human Resources professionals seek learning and development opportunities to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest trends, resources and regulatory uncertainties that impact the American and global workforce. College degrees, industry-specific certifications, and on-the-job experience will help individuals stand out among their peers. However, none of those provides an HR professional with a clear picture of what the future holds in our fluid legal environment.
Increasing State/Local Legislation
In a climate of decreasing federal regulations, employers should expect to continue seeing an increase in state and local legislation that certainly will present legal and ethical challenges. From Paid Sick and/or Family Leave to protections on sexual orientation and harassment, employers need a clear understanding of their state and county employment regulations and ordinances, as well as how their reaction to these changes will define the future of their organization’s culture.
For this and many other reasons, thousands of HR professionals gathered in Glendale, Arizona for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference, “Team HR: Making It Happen.” The conference focused heavily on strategic thinking, and the lessons of one interactive session have lingered with me.
The session was a “gamified,” team-based workshop in which participants worked together to create a model of ethics, including protocols for defining ethics and expectations for practical and positive ethical behavior. The goal was to help session participants view everyday challenges and potential ethical dilemmas in a way that creates a more positive workplace culture by focusing on the underlined ethical principles in play.
Identify Corporate Values to Reinforce Ethics
Most companies already have a defined Mission Statement that includes or reinforces their corporate values. A great first step in accessing if your business’s ethical culture is to evaluate your core processes and business activities. Determine what they are and how they’re being accomplished, and be sure they align with your desired corporate values. Once you’re confident that your core processes reinforce the ethical values that guide your operation, communicate this throughout your organization.
Reinforce the message frequently and consistently, not through top-down communication, but through a leadership style that prizes ethical decision making. This ethical operating philosophy will guide your organization’s internal conduct and affect your company culture, as well as your relationship with customers and vendors. Even better, it will foster pride among your workforce. Employees who are proud of their organization, what it does, and what it stands for have increased motivation, are more productive, and help attract high-caliber talent to your company. Remember, long term value is not possible without a culture of integrity.
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