Tips for Consumers: Can Your Company Avoid Ethics Problems?

Tips for Consumers
Can Your Company Avoid Ethics Problems?

Recently, the topic of corporate ethics has been a hot topic in newspapers and magazines in the Hagerstown area and all across the country. CEOs of businesses of all sizes are realizing that the only way to have a successful company is to act and conduct business in an ethical manner.
Ethics must start at the top in any organization. Being honest and open is the only way to succeed at business. If you are a CEO or top manager, how can you avoid ethics problems within your business? The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips:
* Bring your highest sense of ethics to your business and lead by example. Demonstrate high ethical standards of behavior toward your customers, suppliers, shareholders, employees and communities in which you do business. Be honest in all your dealings.
* Develop an ethics policy. Make certain that your policy starts at the top level so that company management sets an important example for all employees. Set up training programs that will assist employees in carrying out established ethics policies. Although an ethics policy may not stop unethical behavior, it may give people something to think about and provide a measurement against which to assess their behavior.
* Establish an internal communication system that allows employees to express concerns directly to top management if they suspect wrongdoing or are uncomfortable with current practices. Consider appointing an ombudsman.
* Treat your employees with respect and fairness.
* Reward your employees for ethical decision making and actions.
* Meet with your accounting staff to reinforce the highest reporting and accounting standards and expectations. When the line between doing what is right and what is legal is not clear, refer back to what you all agree is right.
* Know what is going on in y our company. Routinely walk around and talk to your employees directly. Get a feel for what they are doing. Be accessible and interested. If the boss insists ethics are important, the rest of the company will follow.

Always contact the BBB to check out legitimate businesses. Visit their web site, www.baltimore.bbb.org or give them a call 24 hours a day at 410-347-3992. If you have a complaint, use the web site or write them at: BBB, 1414 Key Highway, #100, Baltimore, MD 21230. Their office serves Hagerstown and all of Washington County.