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#291: Your Role in Your Client's Ethics Climate

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, April 26, 2010
Updated: Monday, April 26, 2010
I keep reading about how ethics continues to be a good indicator for future corporate performance. As a consultant trying to improve performance, how could I work with a client to improve their ethical climate?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Ethics Resource Center (ERC) released a survey of HR professionals that revealed that less than half of their companies included ethics as part of performance reviews. Most felt that they were not part of the ethics climate and were, instead, asked to clean up ethical messes after they occurred.

Only one in four surveyed said that their company had a comprehensive ethics and compliance program in place. The survey results make it clear that there is a role for management consultants to help support the fostering of both ethics processes and a climate where ethics is supported.

If you are an HR consultant, these results should be of concern to you - and a basis on which to act in your client's interest. If you are not, this would be an excellent opportunity to take these results to your client and discuss how you might help improve their overall treatment of ethics in the organization.

Greater levels of trust by and within a company speed up decisions and interactions, resulting in higher performance. Think about how fast a deal can be struck between two people who trust each other, compared to the months of due diligence and expense required when trust is absent.

Tip: Spend some time with the performance literature on the impact of trust on commerce efficiency and discuss this with your client. At a minimum, look over Steven M. R. Covey's The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything to give you a basis for your client discussion.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  ethics 

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