The Ethical Business Guide: The Art of Being an Ethical Boss

THE ART OF BEING AN ETHICAL BOSS
BY KIM STODDART FOUNDER OF BLUE ROCKET

THERE IS MORE TO BEING AN ETHICAL BOSS THAN HAVING AN AWARENESS OF EMPLOYMENT LEGISLATION AND PAYING PEOPLE ON TIME. A TRULY GREAT BOSS IS ONE WHO TREATS THEIR PEOPLE WELL AND NEVER FORGETS THAT A WORKFORCE IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF ANY BUSINESS.

Who doesn’t want motivated, hardworking employees who are dedicated to your company? This is every employer’s dream as well as a key ingredient in the recipe for success. It is also perfectly achievable if your team is happy and knows that they are valued.

INCLUSION NOT EXCLUSION

Having ethical practices in place that include rather than exclude employees, is the first step in creating a positive working culture. In turn, this reputation helps to attract high quality candidates and increases retention.

Keeping people updated on developments and involving them as much as possible allows everyone
to understand and feel part of the company’s future. Encouraging feedback at all levels, not just senior management, is important, allowing you to gain a rounded perspective.

Enthusiasm is infectious: if your people understand the importance of their ideas and that they will be rewarded for useful suggestions then you will be able to tap into an ongoing flow of innovation and creativity. Momentum can be maintained through monthly competitions or regular training workshops. Open channels of communication are key and informal chats, brainstorming sessions and emails can be useful tools to get the most out of your team.

Regular company or department meetings can also provide a forum for discussion, and foster inspiration and inclusion.

TAKING CARE OF YOUR PEOPLE

A structured and regular appraisal system helps employees and managers to stay focused and outlines a clear plan for future progression. This format also provides an opportunity for people to ask questions or discuss problems, enabling the management team to overcome issues early. Encourage a 360 degree approach where people at all levels feed into appraisals rather than just senior colleagues. Some people are great at carrying out requests but aren’t so competent at delegation, so this will give you a rounded picture of their strengths
and weaknesses.

OPEN CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION ARE KEY AND INFORMAL CHATS, BRAINSTORMING SESSIONS AND EMAILS CAN BE USEFUL TOOLS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TEAM

EFFECTIVE CONFLICT RESOLUTION

The ethical HR practices already discussed should hopefully encourage employees to flag up any potential issues before they become serious problems. However, there may be cases when things escalate unexpectedly and your response to such situations is critical.

When an employee raises an issue, it is important that their concerns are given due consideration. An ethical company has clear communication channels in place so that every
member of staff is encouraged to flag up concerns straight away. When your people stop communicating it’s a warning sign that you’re not engaging them properly and systems need to
be improved.

It may be useful to implement a buddy programme, where people have a designated person they can speak outside their immediate team, which should help to overcome any natural reticence they may feel in speaking out.

Ultimately, if you treat people with the respect they deserve, they become more than employees and instead are partners in a community of shared success where there is no room for conflict.

INCENTIVISE, INCENTIVISE, INCENTIVISE

TV shows like Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice are undoubtedly having an effect on the national consciousness and encouraging a more entrepreneurial spirit.This means that all businesses are in danger of losing their most talented employees if they don’t find a way to engage them within the workplace.

Providing a relevant incentive and reward programme goes a long way to stimulating retention. This can work on many levels and may include everything from company bonuses and profit share schemes to smaller but equally popular benefits like health and beauty treatments, shopping vouchers or duvet days.

For example all of my full time employees are given a choice of a massage or treatment each month. We also have virtuous fruit Mondays and irresistible chocolate Fridays where the company provides a selection of goodies for people to enjoy. Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that are the most popular!

There are so many benefits to being an ethical boss, which will leave everyone feeling valued and enthused. We all know the saying that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.
Well, at the end of the day it takes more effort to be an unethical boss than an ethical one because a happy workforce takes less time to manage in the long run.

© BLUE ROCKET AND THE GOOD FOLK 2009