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Develop an Ethics Program for a Company

Essay by   •  August 21, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,525 Words (7 Pages)  •  2,875 Views

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Develop an ethics program for a company

As a new startup company providing management consulting services to nonprofit organizations, we decided to develop an ethics program as the basis of the foundation of the company. Considering we expect to grow to 15-20 employees rather quickly we felt that we can create the proper corporate culture from inception, especially given that our organization will be paying from government funds, we felt it was appropriate prior to offering our services. Our ethics program is outlined as such; standards and procedures details the code of ethics section, a suitable ethics training program section, monitoring, reporting, and auditing section, and a section detailing the review and continuous process improvement for the ethics program as the company grows and evolves.

Considering we are a new company, we felt it was very important to develop a code of ethics to create the proper corporate culture that will attract those individuals who have a strong ethical and moral compass seeking a company that has those same principles. First we established our mission statement; Business the Right Way and Never Waiver. Followed by our core values in which we call the HIRRC Scorecard, (1) Honesty, (2) Integrity, (3) Respect, (4) Responsibility, and (5) Community. These core values are the backbone of our organization and we as the leadership team need to exemplify these qualities on a daily basis under any and every circumstance.

Now that the initial groundwork is laid, we need to identify our ethics officers within the organization. We have setup a criterion of what an ethics officer is, and what their responsibilities are in this role in the company. We felt that an ethics officer needed to be a high ranking individual with a history of legal and ethical background and experiences (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2008, p. 217). This person(s) will "manage the ethics and legal compliance programs and are responsible for (1) Assessing the needs and risks that an organization-wide ethics program must address, (2) developing and distributing a code of conduct or ethics, (3) conducting training programs for employees, (4) establishing and maintaining a confidential service to answer employees' questions about ethical issues, (5) making sure that the company is in compliance with government regulation, (6) monitoring and auditing ethical conduct, (7) taking action on possible violations of the company's code, and (8) reviewing and updating the code" (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2008, p. 217).

Our code of ethics is as follows:

* The Code of Ethics Applies to Everyone in the Company

o We are each responsible to adhere to the code and take the responsibility to report any unethical behavior.

* Non Retaliation Policy

o There is a zero tolerance policy on retaliation. There will be no change whatsoever for the employee and will be protected by the organization.

* To Promote a Positive Work Environment

o Providing an environment that can cultivate our HIRRC values.

* Keep Accurate Records

o Follow all laws outlined within the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

* Protect Intellectual Property

* Avoid any Conflicts of Interest

* Follow all Antitrust Laws

* Insider Trading

* Avoid Gifts, Entertainment, and Favors

* Use of Company Assets

* Community Involvement

o We are responsible for what is right in our community and together we will make a difference.

As we developed the code of ethics, it was important to involve all mangers from every department in the initial brainstorming sessions and it allowed us to receive ideas from many different perspectives. In developing our ethics training we felt that there were certain keys that would allow the training efforts to be successful; "(1) help employees identify the ethical dimensions of a business decision, (2) give employees a means to address ethical issues, (3) help employees to understand the ambiguity inherent in ethics situations, (4) make employees aware that their actions define the company's ethical posture both internally and externally, (5) provide direction for employees to find managers of others who can help them resolve ethical conflicts, (6) eliminate the belief that unethical behavior is ever justifiable by stressing that:

o Stretching the ethical boundaries results in unethical behavior

o Whether discovered or not, an unethical act is just that

o An unethical act is never in the best interest of the company

o The firm is held responsible for the misconduct of its members (Ferrell et al., 2008, table 8-4)

In order for the ethics training to really make a difference, the employees need to understand why it's conducted and how it fits with our organization, and what their specific role is in the daily activities and how to implement the knowledge (Ferrell et al., 2008, p. 221). During the training implementation process, we have put together some tutorial videos to ensure that the employee has a solid understanding of specific topics on where the organization's position is. We have put together these videos as

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