Integrity: Does Your Organization Walk the Talk?

The Sad Truth About Integrity in Organizations

Many organizations and companies claim to practice integrity in their businesses. But do they really? Do they live up to their vision and mission or are these mere words they use to market themselves? Unfortunately, recent studies show that more and more professionals today tend to behave unethically. Early this year, the New York law firm Labaton Sucharow had released the alarming results of a survey on corporate ethics. 24% of the 500 financial services professionals from America and Britain who were asked to answer the survey actually believed that they may need to behave unethically or engage in wrongdoing in order to achieve success in the workforce or business. 26% of respondents on the other hand had firsthand knowledge or had witnessed unethical practices where they work or have worked.

Perhaps a more troubling result of the survey is the fact that 16% of the total respondents would actually get involved in illegal or unethical behavior if they think they could get away with it.

Integrity Defined

Integrity is many things in an organization. It can be the employer or the boss’ ability to make the right decision especially at times when wrongdoing seems easier or more rewarding. Integrity can also be reflected in a worker’s or an employee’s selfless act of loyalty to the company or how well they treat clients and potential customers. In any organization or company, integrity is of vital importance. At the very core of every successful organization is a set of well-defined values and principles that distinguish and characterize the organization.

Instilling and Maintaining Integrity in Your Organization

Integrating good values and integrity in your organization may prove to be a challenge. People come from different cultures and various backgrounds. They can be diverse and so might be their values and priorities. Instilling and maintaining integrity in your organization must be continuous and unrelenting to effectively communicate the organization’s core values and principals.

  1. Lead by Example
    Leading by example can greatly but not necessarily fully dissuade employees from committing devious deeds either against the company, their co-employees, or your customers. When leadership displays signs of integrity in their day to day work, employees are most likely to follow in their steps. Having a culture of integrity in the workplace can also help leaders and managers deal with their employees better by creating a culture of trust and partnership. It is a known fact that workers think of their leadership favorably when he or she exhibits good moral character and proper conduct.
  2. Treat Employees and Co-workers with Respect
    Earn the trust and loyalty of your employees by treating them with respect. Making them feel they are valuable and respected within the company gives them motivation to perform better and remain loyal to you and the company.
  3. Adhere to Rules and Regulations
    Provide every employee with the company’s handbook or code of conduct and strictly abide by the code and its policies. Never give exemptions to those who violate it, everybody should be accountable for their actions.
  4. Encourage Feedbacks, Forums, and Discussions
    Allow your employees to give their feedback and discuss their concerns with management. Be approachable and welcome employees to talk about their concerns or issues especially those regarding integrity and unethical practices. After appropriate consideration and investigation, address problems justly.

The Value of Values

Establishing the right set of values and integrity in your organization can be the ideal foundation for your company to remain competitive in this unsteady economy. A majority of people or organizations are often misguided, thinking honest values and traditions may hamper their money-making opportunities. On the contrary, integrating ethics into your business or organization can help you compete more effectively. One of the advantages of having good organizational values is earning the trust of not only your employees but also your customers. Credibility and word of mouth are both critical traits that can serve to augment your company’s good reputation and brand.

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