Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Create and Maintain a Culture of Honesty and Sound Ethics

In order to create and maintain a culture of honesty and sound ethics, the municipality has to start by setting the tone at the top. All employees have to be encouraged to do the best that they can do, and “go the extra mile”. By increasing work ethics, more work is accomplished, but this can only be done if there is a positive work environment. Management is responsible for creating a positive work environment, and it can be accomplished by creating a rewards system that corresponds with company goals, creating equal job opportunities, making sure that team-orientated and collaborative decision making policies are in use, obligating Human Resources to administer a remuneration program, and that all employees are constantly trained with the organization’s main focus on career development.

A negative work environment is created when management acts inappropriately, and they don’t recognize good behaviour and performance. If management acts autocratic rather than participative, they can set unreachable goals, making staff stressed, especially when goals aren’t met, and problems have to be discussed with management. As seen with TELCOM, employees have low loyalty to the company, and work ownership is not a priority. We can speculate that they are not trained well, and that there is a lack of clear communicated organizational responsibilities and methods. For the Summersby municipality, they have to set reachable daily goals, and the employees need to be trained sufficiently, making sure that they can advance in the organization, with the proper rewards systems in place.

All employees have to be vetted properly by checking criminal records, civil records, disciplinary records, insolvency, qualifications, technical competence, and employees have to go for psychometric testing. When training employees, they have to understand the organization’s values, and adhere to the Code of Conduct as set by the Board of Directors. The work environment it self has to be neat, organized, and has to have working systems and equipment to fulfil daily responsibilities. There has to be a functioning work routine, and employees must communicate problems with management.

Weekly staff meetings can create the perfect opportunity for staff and management to communicate goals, problems, and organize team decisions for new operations or things like team buildings, staff rewards, year end functions, and even birthdays, holidays, congratulating staff members on getting married and having baby showers. All of these opportunities create a positive work environment. It can also be suggested that and employee be the head of functions and team buildings, who can receive a budget for events like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, etc. It is well known, that if an organization shows that it takes care of its employees, the employees will be proud of their work, creating a positive work environment, making the organization’s performance better than companies that don’t reward their employees.

Not neglecting controls, there has to be an effective disciplinary system in place, especially when it comes to fraud, corruption, and theft. These matters should be addressed in the Code of Conduct. The audit committee or board of directors has to work with internal and external auditors to create and maintain a working internal control system, which should be constantly improved as relevant matters are addresses. Violators should be investigated and appropriate and constant disciplinary actions should be taken against them. Employees have to be aware of all security controls and measures, and they should be trained to identify fraud, and a report system has to be in place, making sure that all staff members are responsible for taking action against violators, and the lack of reporting crimes must also result in a disciplinary action. Reporters must remain anonymous to prevent grudges. Effective grievance procedures must be put in place to relieve work stress and anger, thereby preventing violations against the organization’s policies.

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