What Do Executives Think About Ethics?

Posted by Amanda Nieweler

on April 6, 2016

Ethics Reporting: what do executives think about ethics?The state of ethics in the executive world

Many executives and compliance professionals believe that ethical companies are more profitable.

This seems to be the result of a survey conducted by the Ethicphere Institute.

Last month, March 9 and 10, over four hundred executives from companies from around the globe, attended Ethisphere’s Global Ethics Summit in New York city. Having all these people together in the same room lead to an opportunity to pick their brains about their thoughts on corporate integrity.

One hundred and twenty executives were surveyed during the event, answering questions on what they determine the impact of corporate ethics and behaviour is on profits and growth.

Some interesting questions and results based on 120 responses:

Which of the following primarily drives ethics-related change within your company?

  • 53.33% – C-level executives
  • 21.67% – The board of directors
  • 15.83% – Middle management
  • 5.83% – Shareholders or investors
  • 2.50% – Human Resources
  • 0.83% – Lower level employees

Proof that tone from the top is important.

What has been the most effective method of promoting ethical behavior at your company?

  • 43.33% – Training programs and workshops
  • 16.67% – Encouraging employees to report unethical behavior
  • 16.67% – Integrating ethical behavior into employee assessments
  • 15.00% – Internal communications or marketing campaigns highlighting ethical behavior
  • 8.33% – Providing a straightforward incentive/reward program for ethical behavior

This reinforces the importance of hosting training, workshops, luncheons, surveys, etc. in an effort to keep ethical behaviour top of mind. People naturally have a tendency to forget so continual training, keeps important issues up front. And top it off with training employees on how to report unethical behaviour, be it via an internal system or one from a third-party, they are more likely to report, and this enables management to get on top of wrongdoing quicker.

Now here’s the interesting question:

Do you think Millennials would be willing to pay more for goods and services from a company that is recognized as a good corporate citizen?

  • 84.17% – Yes
  • 15.83% – No

Millennials are social media savvy. And of course bad news travels fast via social media. This stresses the importance that companies maintain their ethical standards and zero-tolerance for breaking the rules.

And based on the question before this, training employees on ethical matters, and training them on how to report unethical behaviour, really is the essence of ensuring a company remains a good corporate citizen.

When the bad stuff is left unchecked and ignored, then it will quickly find itself the trending topic on ‘real-time-update’ social media.

So we need to ensure that more companies are adopting ethics reporting systems!

eBook: 7 Reasons to Implement a Whistleblower Hotline