By Sindey Dranoff
Football fans in New England are rejoicing — the judge ruled that Tom Brady could play football when the season opened last week…and play he did! But – the judge was careful not to say that Mr. Brady behaved in an ethical manner or that he did no wrong – but just that the NFL handled the situation so poorly that he could not punish Mr. Brady.
The word “integrity” is being tossed around like a football — the NFL Commissioner, Mr. Goodell saying that Mr. Brady put the integrity of the game of football at jeopardy, and the Patriots owner, Mr. Kraft suggesting that Tom Brady has a high level of personal integrity and he would never knowingly do anything unethical.
Whom you believe is a personal preference, but ethics and integrity are at the center of the Deflate-gate case. Employee understanding of what is right and what is wrong, and what they should do when they think something is wrong is not only at the heart of this case – it is at the heart of business in general. This goes much further than the level of air pressure in a football.
Is There A Culture Of Compliance In Your Organization?
Employees in all organizations have an obligation to report ethical violations; whether or not they are sure what they saw was a violation. Employees are taught and trained to understand the rules and to do the right thing in business situations – but do they really understand? Will an employee report their co-worker, if not why not? Do they fear retaliation? Is there a culture of compliance in your organization?
One proven way to understand an organization’s compliance culture is to conduct a stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance survey. These surveys are not just a few questions on the annual Employee Engagement survey – but separate, distinct and directed. Just by using a stand-alone survey employers send the message to employees that Ethics and Integrity are important to the organization.
Pinpoint Where There May Be Issues
Organizations use stand-alone surveys to learn where there may be issues, and how to correct them. Because there is not a one-size fits all solution, a stand-alone survey pinpoints needs that may otherwise be overlooked or hidden. For instance, training may be needed on a specific topic in a specific region or more directed communications about reporting responsibilities are needed in a different region.
The New England Patriots are playing football with a full squad this fall. But the questions about the integrity of the game, the players and staff, and the equipment are still there.
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Sindey Dranoff is a Senior Project Director at The Melior Group. The Melior Group has developed, conducted and analyzed standalone employee Ethics and Compliance surveys for the past eight years.