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February 5, 2010

HR Fact Friday: Business Ethics Improved During Recession

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , , , — Paul Hendrycks, VP Sales and Marketing @ 8:45 am

Finally some good workplace news to come out of the recession.

In the January issue of HR Magazine it was reported that a devastated U.S. economy did not translate into an increase in unethical behavior at U.S. companies, according to a study from the Ethics Resource Center (ERC). Although the ERC’s 2009 National Business Ethics Survey report found that retaliation against employees who reported misconduct has increased slightly since a similar survey two years earlier, most other measures of ethical behavior improved. According to the report:

Overall misconduct at U.S. workplaces is down. Fewer emloyees said they had witnessed misconduct on the job. This measure fell from 56% in 2007 to 49% in 2009.

  • Whistle-blowing has increased. Most workers (63%) who observed misconduct said that they reported it, up from 58% two years earlier.
  • Ethical culture appears to be stronger. The ERC’s measures of the strength of the ethical culture in the workplace increased from 53% in 2007 to 62% in 2009.
  • Pressure to cut corners has decreased declining slightly from 10% in 2007 to 8% in 2009.
  • Perceived retaliation as a result of a report of misconduct rose, from 12% to 15% over the past two years.

However the ERC researchers sound a warning saying that when more settled, prosperous times return, misconduct is likely to creep upward as the economic crisis dissipates.

During hard times, when a company’s well being or even existence may be on the line and regulators, board members and senior management are watching, management talks more about the importance of high standards to see the organization through. The result is staff are less inclined to commit misconduct when management is on high alert.

Source: HR Magazine, SHRM, Steve Bates, January, 2010

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December 18, 2009

HR Fact Friday: Social Media Challenging for Employers

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , , , , , , — Paul Hendrycks, VP Sales and Marketing @ 8:46 am

A recent survey is the latest reminder that companies are struggling to balance the benefits and risks of letting workers roam online realms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Half of companies have not set out a specific policy for workers’ online social networking activities, according to the report from two professional groups, the Health Care Compliance Association and the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.

Although many organizations lack social networking policies, one-quarter of the nearly 800 compliance and ethics professionals surveyed said their organization has had to discipline an employee for activities on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Social networking sites pose risks such as employee disclosures of confidential information, exposure to computer viruses and postings that can damage a firm’s reputation. On the other hand, some experts say social networking can help firms in ways including viral marketing.

The social networking field has exploded. Facebook, for example, now claims more than 350 million active users, up from some 150 million in January.

Half of Facebook’s active users log on to the site in any given day, and more than 35 million users update their status daily. Quite often this access occurs from the workplace.

Companies, though, are in the dark about much of this activity, according to the September report from the professional groups. Mirroring the lack of a usage policy, roughly half the respondents reported that their companies do not have an active monitoring system for checking employee activity on social networking sites.

Source: Workforce.com, Ed Frauenheim

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