What has happened to good old solid values?
Content provided by a guest contributor.
Fraud and corruption seem to have become entrenched in the way of operating these days. It is so easy to say: "But if so and so is doing this and getting away with it, then so can I”. How does this affect the way business is being done?
In recent chats to business owners and people in the corporate world, more businesses are resorting to making use of polygraph testing to manage and reduce fraud and theft. This is an expensive exercise. It does however seem to have credibility as a tool that provides hard, objective evidence.
Let us stop to consider some actions you can take before resorting to such drastic measures:
Are you clear on the values that drive your business?
- Are your practices and procedures based on good ethics: integrity and honesty? Or do you have different “rules” for different clients?
- Do you treat your employees as well as you treat your clients?
- Take a few minutes to reflect on where there may be discrepancies in your way of operating. Some small examples: Do you ever tell white lies when it comes to non-delivery or poor service?
- Do you treat your staff just like resources, with little respect?
There are no degrees of integrity. The bottom line is that your business either has integrity or not. Unless you are clear on the values by which you are operating, some values will creep in over time – and they may well be negative ones.
You need to make sure that your practices and procedures reflect your value system. E.g. what are your service standards or how do you interact with clients?
Once you have a definite set of values (take 3-5 core ones) these need to be communicated to your employees.
- When you recruit new employees you need to make it very clear that you expect them to support these values.
- A basic job description can include a section on values. The employee needs to understand what will be expected from him.
- Where you are making appointments to key positions in your business you can probe a job applicant in detail to give you examples of where they have demonstrated the values you are desire.
- It really is worthwhile in the long run, to take time to appoint the right person. You are looking for employees who are committed and willing to grow as opposed to just being there to collect their monthly salary. Half of your management problems can be prevented by appointing the suitable people.
The next challenge is to manage your employees with respect, fairness and integrity.
This comment was recently reinforced by an employee: he felt that some employees committed fraud in reaction to unacceptable treatment from the manager! It seems as if some employees may resort to this kind of behaviour instead of talking about their issues. The chances are good that many of you may start to develop a “gut feeling” about a specific employee.
Some business owners will make the specific employee aware that he suspects inappropriate behaviour – whereas others may wait till they have factual evidence. Your role on an on-going basis is to communicate to your staff what is important to you and also to make them aware of the possible consequences of non-compliance.
Part of this process is to document discussions you have with each employee and to have them sign the document as well. Then consider this:
- Are you rewarding your employees fairly? Remuneration remains a tricky aspect in managing employees. You need to be honest with yourself as to whether you are giving your employees a fair deal or whether you are misusing the current situation of high joblessness as a reason to keep your remuneration low.
- A crucial point is to give employees positive feedback when they demonstrate your company’s values: what did they do and what was the result for the client or your business?
This is stating the obvious: companies with good solid ethics will always stay in business. Employees with good solid ethics will always have work. Why - because their reputation will precede them!
What kind of values does your business reflect?
Article written by Linda Germizhuizen, Executive, Career and Life Coach.