Scenario 1: Breakroom Chat
Three colleagues are in the kitchen during their lunch break. Two are engaged in private conversation, although they are speaking quite loudly. Marie asks Claire why it is so hard to find someone to date. She makes reference to behaviors in which she has engaged in the past—in vivid detail—and her friend laughs.
Meanwhile, Ellie, overhearing the conversation, is deeply uncomfortable. Her colleague is sharing experiences that are not appropriate to discuss in a workplace setting from her perspective. She doesn’t say anything to her colleagues but feels embarrassed about what she has overheard and is preoccupied for the rest of the day. Ultimately, she brings the conversation to the attention of her supervisor.
Marie hasn’t directly subjected Ellie to unwanted sexual advances or abused her, but she has made her deeply uncomfortable and offended her. This type of scenario illustrates the importance of a company having a shared understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour and language in the workplace.
This type of situation is all too common in the workplace, and in order for your organization to prevent it from occurring, you need to incorporate a culture of integrity and compliance that ensures all employees are on the same page.
How do you do that? Keep reading to find out what you need to know.
Make Integrity Part of the Company Culture
When integrity is part of company culture, a sense of right and wrong is ingrained in the psyche of the organization and its employees. Employees follow their own sense of duty because they believe in and share these values themselves.
Training for Integrity and Compliance
For employees to learn and understand how to follow a code of integrity and act in compliance with company rules and external laws, compliance training is essential.
Employees who participate in Interactive Services’ Sexual Harassment Training module learn that harassment encompasses a variety of behaviors, not just lewd advances or comments directed at any one individual and that innuendo and offhand remarks can sometimes violate company rules and upset others.
Compliance Training not only explores the consequences of violating written and unwritten rules, but it also helps instill in employees the principles of ethical company culture. In Sexual Harassment Training, for example, employees learn about what behaviors constitute the different types of harassment, and how to recognize the behavior in oneself and others. They also learn the impact of this type of action or behavior, and laws concerning it. Employees don’t just learn what they need to do to comply with company regulations, they also have a sense of what is right and what is wrong in different situations. In other words, they understand what it takes to establish and contribute to a culture of integrity.
Scenario 2: Hiring Practices
Let’s look at another scenario. Ben is trying to hire a new assistant. In casual conversation with another manager, he mentions that he would prefer to hire a man for the role. “I just find male assistants more trustworthy,” he explains.
In almost all instances, hiring based on gender is against the law. Not only that, in a workplace culture that demands both integrity and compliance, this type of statement would not be acceptable. This manager is acting unethically.
Training for Ethical Conduct
Compliance training can help prevent these types of non-compliant hiring practices from occurring. When employees go through Ethical Workplace Conduct Training, they learn about what ethics in business, when and how to speak up and explore specific scenarios involving violations of ethics in the workplace. They learn how to be compliant and what it means to be truly ethical, both as an individual and an organization.
It is also important to note that some unethical behaviors don’t just violate company values and principles; they also violate the law. Different countries, states, and regions have different laws governing behaviors in the workplace. Compliance training can help employees recognize and understand how they must act as representatives of their organization.
How Integrity and Compliance Complement One Another
Ultimately, integrity and compliance are both key components of your company standards and conduct. Integrity is a central principle governing the morals and values of individuals and the entire organization. It is not a behavior but a way of thinking and being. Employees act in accordance with their deeply-rooted principles, which are shared values of the organization. Compliance, the adherence to specific rules, is also necessary for a functioning and thriving organization. People need to know the rules before they can internalize the appropriate way to act. They also need to understand the consequences of violating these terms.
Instilling Compliance and Integrity in Your Organization
So, how do your employees learn how to follow ethical standards and remain compliant?
Training that involves components of integrity and compliance leads to a more positive and ethical workplace for everyone, not to mention one that is ethically and legally compliant.
Every employee is a representative of your company, not just while they are working but also in their private lives and beyond. Their behavior reflects on your organization, whether they’re presenting at a board meeting or posting an amusing anecdote on Facebook. It’s essential that the bring integrity into their behavior and actions while also remaining compliant with the organization’s rules and laws.