Instill Ethical Practices in New Hires

by Dr. John Throop

Few employers develop ethical practices and training with new hires. They orient people to the workplace, familiarize them with key requirements and expectations, and introduce them to their supervisors, workspace and basic scheduling matters—but may not cover workplace values and ethics. When ethical training takes root, however, there are great results. So what are some ways core values and ethical practices can be instilled in new hires? Four key elements come to mind that can be adapted in any organizational setting:

  • Align core values with operational values. Make sure the work routine, the decision-making process, and the reward system demonstrate transparency between standards and practices. In longer-term strategic planning, a careful review of ethical standards and core values is essential.
  • Develop and use training tools in corporate values. Create a PowerPoint or video presentation (or both) that puts key ethical standards and practices into an easily understood learning method. These tools can be developed into a periodic curriculum so new hires and old hands alike can reflect on some of the tough choices they’ve encountered.
  • Make an ethics presentation a key part of new hire orientation. In an orientation session—or series of sessions—a period of time can be devoted to communicating core standards, how they’re valued, how they’re tested or reviewed, and how they’re rewarded.
  • Provide ethical coaches and mentors for reflection and feedback. Provide new hires with experienced workers who integrate corporate values into their work habits and practices. Such people can be line workers, as well as managers and supervisors. They can be much more frank and direct in conversation precisely because they have an advisory role, not a disciplinary role, with the employee.

Training and developing new hires in corporate values and ethical standards can have a great payoff: a loyal and dedicated worker who’s inclined to make the “right” decision. iBi

Adapted from an article published in the August 2005 issue of iBi.

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