In a marketplace where getting great employees is harder than ever, building a culture of integrity is a great way to attract and retain personnel. It is often said that ‘honesty is the best policy’ and in today’s work environment where employees have more choices of where to take their talents to organizations which demonstrate high integrity become leaders in their industry.
Ethisphere.com recognizes the companies which demonstrate the highest business integrity. 136 companies from 22 nations grace the list and have policies and disciplines in place which raise the stakes on integrity. Organizations are selected on a list of criteria which include governance, leadership and reputation, culture and ethics, ethical compliance, and environmental and societal impact. To be named among the best, these companies must establish policy and demonstrate integrity throughout the organization.
The scrutiny today on integrity is glaring. From customer reviews to social media posts to news stories, companies are facing a constant barrage of tests on their integrity. No one is safe from the cancel culture that is clearly setting new standards on honesty, authenticity, and integrity.
Oscar Wilde, the infamous playwright, and author reminds us
“Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.”
It can be daunting for an organization to maintain a handle on its integrity pulse, but individuals within an organization can go a long way to extending the integrity beyond company boundaries. To establish a culture of integrity you must ensure that several behaviors are consistently applied and there is an uncompromising focus on specific traits.
Integrity is built on trustworthiness and patience. For integrity to be authentic and permeate every area of your workplace and culture honesty, respectfulness and helpfulness need to be practiced. Adherence to ethic principals and doing what is right even when no one is looking, is a key measure for building integrity. Making difficult choices and tough decisions based on truth and responsibility also build integrity over time.
As a leader demonstrate integrity by 1. Clearly defining your values, 2. Thoughtfully analyzing choices, and 3. Exhibiting self-confidence. Keep in mind, leaders with high integrity also are humble and are mindful of who they associate with and openly show gratitude.
To encourage a more integrity-based environment make sure that your teams openly and effectively deal with conflict and are working as a team who deal with shortcomings without judgment. Authentic integrity is demonstrated by team members valuing each other’s time, coming prepared to meetings and following-through on promised deliverables.
Unexpected results from building an integrity-focused workplace are that you will develop better leaders and build diversity within the organization. This also leads to open communication and better decision-making. Teams with high levels of integrity hold each other accountable and actively seek to build on positive momentum instead of tear down ideas.
“Workplace integrity can be exemplified by many traits, including honesty, loyalty, respect, and responsibility, and it is vital to decision-making, serving customers, and managing employees. It’s also crucial to reducing costly errors, avoiding illegal activity, and keeping the organization’s core values top of mind.”
Teams that operate within an environment of high integrity see productivity rise and burnout reduce. They tend to be more resilient and find collaboration a more organic tendency. Ultimately, employees within organizations with cultures which foster integrity see less turnover over time. Loyalty builds in high-integrity organizations even when things go wrong. They have confidence that errors will be dealt with honestly and in a way that exhibits learning and awareness.
Honesty as a policy, creed and culture goes far beyond a statement or a series of value points. It must be at the heart of an organization, its leaders and team member. Integrity should be the beat to which your organization grows.
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