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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Getting Ethics Training Right for Leaders and Employees

The Wall Street Journal
Originally posted April 9, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

Ethics training has needed a serious redesign for some time, and we are seeing three changes to make training more effective. First, many organizations recognize that compliance training is not enough. Simply knowing the rules and how to call the ethics helpline does not necessarily mean employees will raise their voice when they see ethical issues in the workplace. Even if employees want to say something they often hesitate, worried that they may not be heard, or even worse, that voicing may lead to formal or informal retaliation. Overcoming this hesitation requires training to help employees learn how to voice their values with in-person, experiential practice in everyday workplace situations. More and more organizations are investing in this training, as a way to simultaneously support employees, reduce risk and proactively reshape their culture.

Another significant change in ethics training is a focus on helping senior leaders consider how their own ethical leadership shapes the culture. This requires leaders to examine the signals they send in their everyday behaviors, and how these signals make employees feel safe to voice ideas and concerns. In my training sessions with senior leaders, we use exercises that help them identify the leadership behaviors that create such trust, and those that may be counter-productive. We then redesign the everyday processes, such as the weekly meeting or decision-making models, that encourage voice and explicitly elevate ethical concerns.

Third, more organizations are seeing the connection between ethics and greater sense of purpose in the workplace. Employee engagement, performance and retention often increases when employees feel they are contributing something beyond profit creation. Ethics training can help employees see this connection and practice the so-called giver strategies that help others, their organizations, and their own careers at the same time.

The article is here.