As an employee representing AECOM, you want to win projects fair and square – and as part of a team.
Marcos Diaz Gonzalez is AECOM’s metro executive for New York and a corporate vice president in the company’s global program management group. During his nine years at AECOM, Marcos has held several roles, including, most recently, executive for Latin America and lead for Americas Strategic Planning. He has managed and directed multidisciplinary programs and teams, for public and private clients, on four continents and across multiple market sectors and operations, including civil infrastructure, sports, mixed-use facilities, economic development, public-private partnership policy, transportation, and culture. His project work includes the $1.3-billion redevelopment of Lincoln Center in New York, the world’s largest and most-complex performing arts center.
At AECOM, Marcos has been a functional lead for several M&A due diligences and/or integrations globally. A corporate social responsibility champion, he sits on the Board of the Architecture Construction Engineering (ACE)-ACE NY Mentor Program and is the founder of AECOM’s ACE Initiative.
Given that you’ve worked with people from many different cultures, what ethics and values did you find you had in common across the regions?
Due to AECOM’s unwavering commitment to ethics, we are fortunate to attract and retain employees with a shared commitment to high ethical standards as we do. Working for a global organization that has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for four consecutive years shows that our employees and clients place a high premium on trust and respect, which touches on every part of our operations. The challenge, however, is meeting ethical standards in an ever-changing business environment – and like many companies, we cannot anticipate what the future holds. The best practice is to plan ahead and understand the dilemmas that our employees could face in different jurisdictions, and to implement programs that are consistent and ethically impeccable across the enterprise.
Why is ethics so important in this new business environment?
As new markets expand and globalization increases, making the right decision is critical, and, in many cases, ethics serves as a powerful competitive differentiator. Ultimately, if you don’t set high ethical standards in the business environment, you are not able to participate in an open and fair marketplace. As an employee representing AECOM, you want to win projects fair and square – and as part of a team. As a result, this creates an environment that is conducive to success. It is good practice to keep in mind that ethics is considered the framework and standard that we must follow at all times around the globe. Across AECOM, it is generally understood that each of us has an additional responsibility to each other in the shared efforts to build and maintain public trust. Our employees know that trust is a valuable asset, and it should not be taken for granted.
What makes someone “ethical?”
This goes beyond knowing the rules of engagement in the global business environment. It is about embodying the predisposition to do the right thing, and to anticipate when you, or your colleagues, company or associates, may be in a situation where making the right decision truly matters. At AECOM, doing the right thing starts with tone at the top, and we are fortunate to have senior leaders who establish a strong culture of integrity and excellence. This quality is maintained through our best-in-class ethics and compliance programs, which constantly audit, monitor and educate our employees. For example, in relation to everyday business matters, there are many resources and updates available to employees on the Ethics Compliance myAECOM page that make our obligations to address ethical business challenges meaningful. Employees also have the opportunity to view videos on the Video Resource Library page that both entertain and educate. Additionally, we leverage our Code of Conduct training,compliance policies and a focus on assurance through audit and accountability.
How would you manage a situation in which you believed that something was not in compliance with the law?
Ignorance of the law does not exclude an employee from the consequences of acting illegally or unethically. If at any point an employee engages in such behavior, the company is prepared to take immediate action. We believe in responding to ethical issues in a manner that is proactive as opposed to reactive – this means that we work cross-functionally to mitigate an ethical lapse before it spreads to the rest of the organization. We have a track record of taking disciplinary action toward employees who condone and engage in unethical activity, or who actively ignore our Delegations of Authority. Our programs equip us with the right set of tools to identify potential red flags.
According to studies, consistent ethical leadership increases employee engagement. With that in mind, what are a few ways ethics engages employees?
When you see company leaders doing the right thing, it sets a standard for employees to follow. For example, AECOM’s geography leaders directly communicate their support of the company’s ethics and compliance program, which includes messaging that accounts for cultural and language differences. When leaders are ethical, they continue to advance the careers of the right people and set up the right structure and mechanisms to make sure that a high ethical standard is maintained. When it comes to developing a sustainable ethical culture, leadership and mentoring go hand-in-hand. Our employees constantly demonstrate their commitment to ethics by participating in live webcasts and social-responsibility initiatives, as well as engaging in annual Ethics Week activities. Across the board, it seems that no matter where our employees are located or the size of their department, they remain engaged and focused on sustaining a workplace culture defined by integrity.
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Senior Writer, AECOM Corporate Communications