There are so many possibilities, for all budgets, in developing impactful ethics education.
Organizations and their leaders who are serious about ethics education to all employees should seriously consider developing a fully integrated ethics education program.
In my experience for over 30 years in ethics/leadership education, I believe that such ethics education programs should minimally require the following:
1. A comprehensive mission/values statement and code of ethics that all employees know and fully understand. (I suggest reviewing and updating these documents every two years.)
2. Communication vehicles that are popular among employees (Intranet, classes, manuals, staff meetings, email, virtual learning) where messages from executives and well-respected individuals reinforce the company’s focus on good business ethics on an ongoing basis. (Not just a one time deal).
3. Ethics education sessions that not only define behavior but apply principles to situations that employees face in their business dealings. The use of case studies, interactive activities, decision-making strategies and techniques are vital in providing any credible ongoing learning program.
When was the last time you visited a place of business where it appeared that ALL employees ‘got the memo’ on how to treat each customer ethically and with the utmost respect? These are far and few between.
So what’s the culture of your organization? How is ethics being communicated and reinforced by your leaders? How is the importance of acting ethically demonstrated in your organization?
This is not news to us, yet this is still not happening in many organizations. Just pick a newspaper or watch the news. Anything ethical going on?