Ethics in the workplace is a topic that should be of top priority to all employers. In fact, here at Work Shield, our Director of Ethics and Compliance, Ashley DiGiammatteo, helps organizations reach desired outcomes at work, and we’re sharing insight from her wealth of experience and knowledge on this important subject.
Research shows that over the past 20 years, ethical culture at work has remained high with one in five U.S. employees working in a strong ethical culture in 2020 as compared to one in 10 in 2000. While the state of ethics at the office has strengthened, in 2020 employees experienced two times more pressure to compromise standards than in 2017, and the number of workers observing misconduct is moving upwards. With that, recent Gallup data found that only 40% of employees who witness unethical behavior actually take the step to report it.
Here is what our very own Director of Ethics and Compliance had to say about creating an ethical workplace culture.
What is your main role at Work Shield?
I operate as a team member first. My goal is to help foster the continuous improvement of Work Shield and my colleagues. I help others understand the ‘why’ behind our actions and listen to others’ perspectives on how to get it done. I analyze and document our investigations processes and create educational, awareness, and training opportunities. Also, I work closely with the Portal Development team to lead the execution of the configuration management, scheduling, and implementation of enhancements to the platform. Additionally, I conduct incident audits to ensure appropriate investigation and documentation occurred as well as work with the team, our clients, and external law firms to provide a full-service platform that ensures incidents are handled appropriately.
What do you enjoy most about your position at Work Shield?
Generally, my experience has been supporting one company at a time. It is so exciting to me to be able to have such a direct impact on the workplace culture for all our various clients, regardless of industry or size.
What is a challenge that organizations face that you would like to solve?
Many organizations struggle with building a true culture of non-retaliation and trust that leadership will have their back when an issue arises. Organizations are being encouraged to do more with less, which can sometimes cause employee relations to suffer. I’d like to help employers build a sense of trust with their employees by providing a completely impartial method of reporting and investigating workplace conduct concerns.
What are your top three driving values?
Integrity. Authenticity. Growth.
What are the top three things employers can implement for a more ethical workplace?
Each of my top three have an emphasis on culture:
- Teach employees where to find the information they need to be successful, know your expectations, and make sure the information is readily available.
- Allow your employees the opportunity to be human and learn from their mistakes, but implement effective coaching and disciplinary processes. Some might be surprised at how many people leaders do not know how to have crucial conversations.
- Create a process where your employees truly feel safe to share their ideas or raise their concerns without the fear of judgment or retaliation. This concept applies when an employee wants to speak up during a team meeting, during discussions with coworkers, when going directly to their supervisor, and it means leadership must be available. Also, ensuring there is an avenue to reporting concerns and documenting how the company handled them is instrumental to ethical culture.
We are thrilled to have Ashley on our team, and we look forward to the growth and success that Work Shield will experience as a result as well as the enhancements to the continued support we offer our clients. If you haven’t reviewed your organization’s ethics and compliance program lately, then let this be a friendly reminder that an ethical culture is a must to create a space where all employees feel safe, valued and truly heard.