Employee Ethics Training
Unfortunately, employee ethics training is becoming more an issue of legality and liability than of morality. Many businesses and corporations are developing a code of ethics. This is occurring in part due to legislation at the federal level and as a hedge against civil litigation. In recent years, high profile cases involving non-profit organizations, small business, large corporations, the government, and the military have brought ethics, or the lack of them, into the limelight. These cases have involved everything from sexual misconduct to financial impropriety. Loose ethics have proven to be a giant killer. Large and presumably stable companies have collapsed, and innocent people have been financially ruined. However, the question of what constitutes ethical behavior has been around for centuries. Not surprisingly, every now and then the government gets involved in how private business should be conducted. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations was first adopted in 1991. These guidelines set minimum standards in order to lessen penalties for organizations found guilty of misconduct. Then in 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was adopted. The act required publicly traded companies to disclose whether or not a behavioral code for top officers had been implemented. However, some experts believe ethics training is not just for people in charge. The same policy must be made mandatory for everyone in the organization.
Making employee ethics training a mandatory part of the employment process helps increase recruitment and retention of employees because morale often improves when there are established standards for behavior. An online search reveals that ethics training is big business. Companies and individuals make huge profits developing behavioral models. But Christians need not look any further than Christ and the Bible for a model. In fact, a Christian's life should reflect and exemplify the characteristics of Christ. Most experts in employee ethics training believe a model should be built around five desirable characteristics: compassion, honesty, fairness, respect, and responsibility. All of these five characteristics are found repeatedly throughout the Bible. Obviously, any code must comply with applicable laws. But, there are goals that may be unwritten or even unspoken that are of far greater value than simply remaining within the law. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23) Striving for the fruit of the Spirit will lead to personal responsibility, respect of other people's beliefs and feelings, fairness for all, honesty in business practice; and compassion for coworkers, supervisors, and others.
It is not enough for Christians just to tell other people what is appropriate, they must lead by example. Strong arm marketing of any religious belief system usually doesn't work. Still, any ethical decision making model must teach the values and character of Christ. But, don't use Christ as a hammer to beat beliefs into employee's or co-worker's heads. Instead, model Christ and Christian character through attitude and actions. In fact, the words Christ and God don't even have to appear in a behavioral code. But, the attitude does. America is so diverse that it may not be appropriate or even legal to put religious ideology into employee standards. Once a code has been established, make sure each employee receives a copy. And, they must understand it completely. There is any number of ways employee ethics training can be conducted. Distributing a policy and explaining it to workers is one way, but it may be the least effective method. Some organizations distribute policies and then have workers sign a statement saying that they have read and understand the material. Make available to workers all resources that will help answer any questions about ethics and diversity. Try incorporating role-playing scenarios into training. Placing an individual into a potentially uncomfortable situation helps them understand how another person may feel when confronted with the same situation.
During employee ethics training, explain what is considered appropriate and acceptable behavior as well as the potential consequences for failure to comply. Workplace romance has become a confusing and potentially hazardous area. It is an ambiguous line separating appropriate behavior from sexual harassment when it comes to workplace romance. Simply asking another person out on a date more than once might be considered harassment. Other issues to be addressed in employee ethics training are appropriate e-mail and internet use, confidentiality issues, and security. In addition to physical harassment, guidelines concerning verbal and emotional harassment should also be developed. Some businesses and organizations will have a need to include in employee ethics training information on conflicting financial interests, gifts between workers and non-workers, gifts between employees, outside employment, and financial disclosure. Some businesses are concerned about their own image and how they may appear, if one of its employees works for a company that may have a poor image in the eyes of the public. For example, a store that sells Christian books and supplies probably won't want an employee working for a company that sells adult books and novelties.
Some types of organizations or businesses will have such things as non-compete clauses in worker agreements. And every organization will have special ethics considerations. For example, media groups are concerned with relationships between sources and reporters. Maintaining a professional relationship is important. Violations can be incredibly damaging. And, some violations, such as plagiarism, will have legal implications. Generally speaking, weak ethics goes a long way in how others perceive a business, organization, or person. Any in-house behavioral code or plan that is properly implemented will have a system for reporting violations built into it. An integral part of the code may even be an intimidation factor and consequences for each violation. Whether a person is involved in an employee ethics training program or developing a behavioral code, Christ's character must show and be evident through them. Unfortunately, the law is gaining more control over business and ethical standards. But keep in mind what Galatians says: if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Employee Training DevelopmentComprehensive employee training programs help build a highly skilled workforce with the ability to grow and develop with changing market trends and corporate demands. If good help is hard to find its because highly skilled baby boomers are fast making their way to beachfront retirement condos, leaving lesser skilled techies to fend for themselves in todays fast paced job market. Fierce competition exists among businesses to meet and exceed corporate goals and objectives and stay on top of the game. Employees can no longer expect to work thirty years in the same job, at the same rate of pay, with the same skill set. Those who are eager to learn and apply new concepts and techniques for greater productivity will find themselves advancing up the corporate ladder; while those who refuse to adjust to new levels of learning will find themselves sadly left behind.
Concerned human resources professionals at many small and large corporations spend a considerable amount of time developing employee training programs which help workers keep pace with greater workplace demands. Job descriptions are often expanded to include increasingly challenging skills, such as computer technology or written communication. In order to retain employment and qualify for promotions and pay raises, todays workforce must be reeducated, recalibrated, and retooled into faster, smarter, and more productive workers than those in the past. Even older corporate executives must enroll in employee training development courses and become computer literate in order to provide leadership to a younger, wiser generation.
Gone are the days when promotions were a given simply because of longevity on the job; but employers are requiring knowledgeable staff and highly qualified workers who can give them a decided edge over the competition. When individuals come into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, they too become reeducated through the Word of God, recalibrated by the Holy Spirit and retooled by a new conviction and belief system. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (II Corinthians 5:17-18).
Hundreds of seminars, workshops and employee training programs are attended each year which do little to provide workers with new skills or incentives to increase productivity. But those programs which are effective can go a long way toward turning enhancing employee morale, building a core of skilled workers, and helping to meet company goals and objectives. Workers need to feel that they are making a valuable contribution to the company that will pay off in merit raises, continued employment and an opportunity to advance. Upper and middle level corporate management must realize that without a well trained and well compensated workforce, businesses can not succeed. Corporate heads should not neglect to extend rewards and recognition as employees accomplish short and long term goals while exemplifying the corporate brand in and out of the workplace.
Employers want to make sure that employee training programs dont consist of old concepts and methodology dressed up in just another pretty face. In other words, managers shouldn't let marketing and slick graphics sway them from contracting with employee training development firms that provide substantive information that gets positive results. Employees should feel as though they have learned techniques, procedures and tactics to enhance performance, increase job security, and place them in a position for future advancement. Human Resource directors also need to bear in mind that different individuals learn differently. While some workers may learn quickly by demonstration, others learn audibly or by repetitiously reading new material. A good training program be structured in a way which is appropriate for all learning curves and levels of comprehension.
What constitutes a good employee training development program? Asking that is like asking, Whats a good recipe for homemade soup? It all depends on whats left over in the refrigerator and how you want the final product to taste. Human Resources directors must first assess company needs from a production and profitability standpoint. Is the company meeting its sales quotas? Are products being manufactured on time? What is the nature of employee morale? Is there a high degree of absenteeism and worker turnover? Are employees qualified for the job they have been hired to do? The only way HR can do an accurate assessment is to visit with department heads, review performance evaluations, and talk personally with those employees who would benefit the most from additional instruction.
Once assessments have been made and areas of concern addressed, department heads and Human Resources directors can take a look at how to enhance the positives and eliminate the negatives. Focusing on how to capitalize on strengths will put business owners ahead of the game. Provide employee training programs that are relevant to workers and allow them to buy into their own training. Ensuring that the company staff understand not only the benefits of employee training development, but also the potential rewards will go a long way in securing cooperation and completion of programs with enduring results.
While smaller enterprises may develop in-house employer training programs on conducted by department heads or upper management executives, larger corporations usually hire talking heads or industry gurus for thousands of dollars to give one or two days of self-aggrandizing spiels about how they conquered the world in ninety days. Human Resource directors at smaller companies with even smaller budgets need to get creative when it comes to employee training development. Many companies select workers to attend out of town seminars; some conduct in-house skill enhancement training on a quarterly basis or soon after annual evaluations. Others may enlist the services of motivational speakers to address management and staff over a light lunch or after hours buffet. No matter what method companies choose, the key is to help employees hone existing skills, introduce them to new and improved methods, and ensure that training is easily transferred into the workplace for increased productivity.