In the world of checks and balances regarding corporate social responsibility, it is becoming increasingly more necessary to keep ethical standards in check.

There are many points of access within companies for unethical behavior to ensue and therefore many areas where an ethical audit could be taking place. This subject alone is large enough for entire schools of thought to be devoted to it, but for the time’s sake, I will be boiling it down into a means of evaluating company concern/policy.

In the article, “How to Cultivate a Whistleblowing Culture” (2017), author Leo Martin lays out the making of an openly communicative and ethical workplace. Martin suggests these three courses of action: “Set the right tone,” “Get training right,” and “Recruit stakeholders” (employ with values upfront), which all focus on allowing employees to speak freely and making them feel comfortable to do so.

Following his guide to implementing an ethical employer attitude, Martin concludes that “companies must be seen not just to listen, but also to act,” (2017, para. 12). I would like to continue this diagnosis with suggestions on how businesses and their managers could be acting on employees’ voiced concerns. Martin was correct in saying a company cannot stop at just listening, because without actions being taken, employees may eventually feel unheard once again. Furthermore, companies must also evaluate their efforts to provide the greatest amount of employee welfare.

Thanks to modern technology, it would be nearly easy to kill these two birds with one stone, that is, both acting on and evaluating. This suggestion is to have a pre-policy review evaluation; this step would act as an action on the employer’s part in itself, showing employees that they are being heard. That is, in addition to the more tangible actions that may follow. So three birds all day.

Employees on Policies Evaluation

When an employee talks to their boss, HR, an anonymous third-party, or sends an unsigned email to corporate, about an ethical concern that has been bothering them — it is the responsibility of the higher authority to provide answers and attention to said employee and (attempt to) alleviate their concerns.

To potentially solve this, the company could reach out to more employees to see how the concern has been perceived by other people within the same level/field. A common tactic to achieve this communication process is to use online surveys, like Google Forms and SurveyMonkey. With the aid of Google, and others, surveys can be created to carry out campaigns and the answers received can be seen then through an analytical lens for evaluation purposes.

An example survey question: “Have you been affected by ______?” With answers ranging from “No, not at all” to “Yes, every day.” Multiple choices can also be provided with the common emotive form: 1-5 “Strongly agree” to “Strongly disagree.” This is generally referred to as being quick and easy because there is no typing involved. More qualitative answers can found with questions that offer a text box to type in, but this is not as easy to measure against. 

The purpose of this pre-changing policy eval survey is to organize all of the employees’ opinions and concerns into a major readable account of the issue. As to not bombard employees and their time, this process could be monthly and ask on multiple concerns. Those in authority would always have the option to take one employee’s distress to the rest of the team; but the more often a manager sympathizes with those below them, the more openly communicative the entire company will seem.

The Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC), in their “Better Together: Partnering with Families” new policy campaign, suggested to: “Summarize information that the group has collected through focus groups, surveys, site visits, literature review, and other needs assessment activities. The following questions can help guide the process of summarizing findings,” (n.d., p. 3). 

Below are IPFCC’s example questions:

  • “What are the trends in our data regarding the needs and concerns of patients, families and other care partners relevant to “visiting policies”?
  • “What are the key themes identified regarding clinician and staff needs, concerns, and benefits relevant to “visiting policies”?
  • “How do patient and family needs and priorities coincide with and/or differ from those of staff? 
  • “How do identified needs, concerns, and benefits relate to principles of patient- and family-centered care?
  • “How do identified needs, concerns, and benefits correspond with findings from the literature, and to issues and solutions in other hospitals or units? 
  • “What changes in policy and practice might address key identified needs, priorities, concerns, and benefits?” (n.d., p. 4). 

While a patient-staff relationship differs from an employee-employer relationship, these example questions still offer future analysts a formula of relation evaluation as well as the policy eval itself. 

In conclusion, nearly each and every company has their own choice to implement corrective action on employee’s ethical dilemmas, or even to take that dilemma with an open hand at all. But if a business is open to communicative and changes, then surveying to an official capacity will become less and less necessary; because the business itself will have built an ethical atmosphere where opinions and concerns are free to roam. 


References:

Google. (2019). Google Forms. Retrieved November 27, 2019, from https://docs.google.com/forms/

Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care. (n.d.). BETTER TOGETHER: Strategies for Changing Policies. Retrieved November 27, 2019, from https://www.ipfcc.org/bestpractices/Strategies-for-Changing-Policies.pdf

Martin, L. (2017, May 4). How to cultivate a whistleblowing culture. Retrieved November 27, 2019, from http://www.ethicalcorp.com/content/how-cultivate-whistleblowing-culture.

SurveyMonkey. (2019). SurveyMonkey. Retrieved November 27, 2019, from https://www.surveymonkey.com/.

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Student in Philosophy and AD/PR