Governments as well as various stakeholders have continuously called upon organizations and their employees to uphold high standards of ethics and moral while carrying out their duties, tasks and responsibilities. Indeed, there are various ways in which firms can respond to such calls. In most cases, business entities have responded by developing formal ethics programs which have been used to help employees to take appropriate actions while engaging in business.
According to Cheeseman (2010), a code of ethics refers to principles and rules crafted by an organization to guide employees. The primary purpose of code of ethics is to ensure that organizations and professional take actions that are socially, professionally and environmentally acceptable (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2009).
For the purposes of this paper, I will develop a code of ethics for a company to be formed that will provide management consultation services to non-profit organizations. The company will have approximately 15–20 employees. Since majority of the clients pay the new firm from funds provided by government sources, we have decided that it would be appropriate to have a code of ethics in place before we start offering services.
The task, in this paper, includes developing an appropriate standards and procedures that will guide the firm and its employees, an appropriate ethics training program, a system of monitoring, auditing, reporting misconduct and finally a plan to review and improve ethics program.
Standards and procedures
We acknowledge that standards and procedures have a direct impact on the daily activities of any firm the new business not being an exception. It has been shown that consultancy firms should have in place a code of ethics that should be strictly adhered to by all workers when dealing with clients and fellow employees. It is worth noting that the entire team is responsible for upholding this code of ethics. The things to be strictly adhered to by all employees include:
All employees should be always smart, the dressing code should be official;
All employees should act with very high level of integrity and honesty in all aspects and they should be accountable for their actions. Workers should at all time employ integrity, competence, independence, objectivity and professionalism.
Workers should only work on tasks and duties for which he/she possesses the required experience and expertise so that the clients are served effectively.
Before taking any task, it is rational to establish with the client a mutual ground on what the objectives, scope, work plan are to ensure that one does not deviate from customers’ requirements.
In a situation where the employee feels that his objectivity and integrity may be compromised, he/she is free to refrain from the task and report the matter to the relevant authority.
Workers should avoid conflict of interest or appearance of such. No one should accept two or more assignments from clients who have different or even conflicting objectives or interests.
There is need to ensure confidentially and privacy of our clients. No employee is allowed to share clients’ information with any other unauthorized party. Failure to comply with this result to the one responsible to pay for the damages caused by information getting into hands of an unauthorized third party.
While dealing with the client, employees are called upon to come up with solutions that are realistic, achievable and practical to clients’ problems.
Every worker shall respect others’ property, refrain from being violent against fellow employees and treat others with civility.
Those in managerial position should:
At all times, ensure that the people, under his/her docket, are made to understand their responsibilities based on the company’s codes, procedure and policies;
Create a working environment where subordinates are comfortable and free to air their views;
Always take an action towards stopping any activity that tends to violate our code of ethics.
Everyone has a right to raise concerns particularly those pertaining to violation of our principles, procedures, laws and ethics. Anonymity, if deemed necessary, will be granted to those who report violation of our code of ethics.
The firm will take independent investigation on any reported misconduct and individuals who have vital information to help successful determination of the case are invited to give such information.
It is an offense for retaliatory acts towards employees who raises problems in an honest manner.
It is a violation of our code of ethics to make false accusation against an individual or a group of people.
All workers should use the company properties in a way that it was intended for.
When offering services to clients, fees to be charged should be in line with the company’s fees policies.
Workers should not accept kickback, gifts and other favors from clients in order to give them preferences.
Ethics training program
We understand that having in place a code of ethics and other procedures is a stepping stone in ensuring that employees are ethical and act in the best interest of all relevant stakeholders. However, without having a training program to help workers understand them fully, then such efforts of developing the procedures and standards will be a waste of resources (Kathryn, 2005).
We strongly believe that, in order to be successful in providing better services and having employees who can offer the best services, developing ethic training program is paramount. The main objective of the training program is to educate workers about policies, procedures, standards and laws associated with ethical business behaviors.
The company will employ two types of educating employees on ethics and standards; online approach and face-to-face interaction. The former will be the responsibility of the human resource department which will be provided with the necessary funds to procure relevant tools to accomplish this task.
Things to be covered when educating and training employees should revolve around, accountability, integrity, transparency, diversity in the work place, environment, health and safety, antitrust compliance, conflict of interest, insider trading, whistle blowing, company property, relationship with clients among others (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2009).
In terms of online training and education, the firm will outsource the services of a well known and qualified ethic training provider. Since they are flexible in their training, we will furnish them with the required information that need to be disseminated to our employees. The provider will then develop the content and post the same in the firm’s website where our employees will be interacting with the information (Kathryn, 2005).
Since it is a new business, all employees will be taken through an initial three month training to be offered by an outsourced provider. After this, there will be a periodic assessment of how workers fair on with our ethics. Those who still need more training will be identified and their views sought after on how best to improve their desire to learn our ethics. Employees will be trained twice a year.
Systems to monitor, audit and report misconduct
The new company will have a department responsible for monitoring, auditing as well as reporting and dealing with misconduct. The firm will also have a policy to open up doors to government agencies and other independent firms to help in monitoring the new company.
The department dealing with these issues should develop an open avenue where employees are free to air their concerns either in writing or orally. From this, the responsible department (quality and assurance) document concerns raised. It is the responsibility of this important department to audit the existing ethics, continuously observe, analyze as well as review employees’ behaviors (Cheeseman, 2010).
Those who report misconduct should follow the right channel; the first step is to report the matter to the immediate supervisor and if one feels he/she is not comfortable doing that he/ she can report the same to the office dealing such issues. There will be a complaints box and an email address where issues of concerns can be posted.
Similarly, it is the task of this department to ensure that failure to comply with the laid down code of conducts, other laws and regulations are dealt with accordingly (Cheeseman, 2010). The conclusion to include paying a fine, interdiction, demotion or even termination among others are to be based on facts as well as the scenario surrounding the entire event. Offenders are given a chance to present their side of the story before an action is taken against him/her.
Review and improve ethics program
The new company acknowledges that the strategies that worked yesterday may not be suitable in the future due to ever changing business environment. Thus, the human resource department will periodically engage employees in establishing areas that need improvement. One strategy is to use survey to get the views of employees on the effectiveness of the current ethics training program.
With conjunction with an independent body which will be outsourced, the findings will be documented and shared with employees and other relevant stakeholders particularly ethic training providers. The final decisions should always feature and accommodate what the employees proposed. This will give them a sense of ownership and solutions will be very broad hence accommodating their varied concerns (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2009).
From the task, code of ethics for the new consultancy firm, ethics training program, a system of monitoring, auditing, reporting misconduct and finally a plan to review and improve the ethics program as time goes are succinctly developed. It is no doubt that acting ethically and, according to law, it is paramount as it helps employees and the firm to work in the best interest of all the relevant stakeholders.
Cheeseman, H. (2010). Business Law: Legal Environment. New York: Prentice Hall.
Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2009). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases (7th ed.). Boston, MA: South-Western/Cengage Learning.
Kathryn, T. (2005). Do the right thing: ethics training programs help employees deal with ethical dilemmas. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3495/is_2_50/ai_n11841923/