Building Integrity as Company Culture
In 2016, by then the auspicious bank Wells Fargo was found “reinforcing” numerous misconduct through extreme financial goals. The bank employees were expected to reach certain goals in which they would either be rewarded, with bonuses amounting to between 15% and 20% of their salaries, or further pressured to accomplish it at all cost, in which the deficit would be added to their next day’s goals. This system pushed employees to carry out a series of underhand means, such as opening bank accounts and savings without customer consent and charging dubious costs, additional services, and insurances, for plenty of years. As a result, 5,000 employees were fired, the CEO was dismissed and had to return US$41 million in received income, and the Wells Fargo stock price dropped by 13%. Taken together, the company’s losses boiled down to more than 10 billion dollars.
Both small and major businesses are prone to fall into the brink of collapse if they let dishonesty and lack of integrity be neglected and rooted for years. Integrity means acting ethically, doing what is believed to be right, and being transparent, accountable, and owning up to any mistakes. To uphold corporate integrity means that intentions, actions, and interactions between company and all stakeholders are aligned with aims and purposes in a respectable way. It is becoming even more crucial for companies to behave with integrity to elevate the company’s image in a positive light in the current era, especially in the light of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and technology advancement.
A business without integrity could impact the company’s fundamentals and lead to harrowing consequences as following:
a. Employee performance and relations
In some cases, harsh company systems could force employees to ignore laws and protocols in order to reach obligatory goals. Leaders who lead without integrity could lose trust and respect from their subordinates, and lack of integrity in the workplace could cause relationship turmoil between employees. Ultimately, a good teamwork would be difficult to establish, which could further hinder the team from producing quality output.
b. Company credibility
A business would soon lose its credibility once its lack of business ethics are out in the public. Even though some companies manage to recuperate, it still takes a hefty amount of money, time, and effort to gain the people’s trust back. Once a lack of ethics becomes public knowledge, customers would immediately turn to a better company and leave the unprincipled one for good.
c. Legal issues and ethics
Businesses that are found to break the laws could find themselves facing criminal charges, which costs both reputation and costs that would take a long period of time to recover.
Taking the initiatives to build integrity culture
Creating a sustainable corporate integrity culture is beneficial in many ways. Aside from heightened trust that could lead to improved performance and teamwork, it could also help the company in establishing better customer and stakeholder relationships, stronger supply chain, and delivering better CSR obligations by carrying out lawful and legal practices.
How to build integrity as a company culture? There are several steps that business owners could apply:
a. Create and implement clear policies, processes, procedures, and code of ethics
Taking this action could improve work efficiencies and transparency to avoid compliance and governance risks. It could also provide a framework for a business with strong values that can guide a company on decision-making and behave respectably.
b. Educate, engage, and empower employees
Encourage all employees of the responsibility they have on behaving forthrightly and that they are integral in the integrity build. The process begins immediately at the recruitment stage and should be maintained throughout the employees’ journey in the company. This could be done through training and equipping the employees with tools that drive compliance, such as technology with built-in security systems for maximum document integrity.
c. Always communicate
After policies and best practices are developed, communicate them across the organization, through meetings, posters, or digital means. Remember that communications work both ways thus it is important to ensure that employees could identify and respond to those policies without fear.
BMJ encourages work with upstanding principles
BMJ has a vision to practice business with the highest standards of integrity. Unceasingly, we are taking the efforts to embed professionality and honesty within our company’s DNA to conscientiously operate in compliance with the applicable laws, regulations, policies, and procedures.
The BMJ Code of Conduct provides comprehensive guides and procedures for all employees to adhere to, in which we have communicated and they have understood and agreed altogether. To make sure that the company management runs in a fair and responsible manner, BMJ also carries out regular internal auditing with our qualified compliance team.
Our honest-to-goodness policies apply both to all members within the company and third-parties that work with us. We wish for a mutually beneficial cooperation, and one of the aspects include ethical and law-abiding performances. Therefore, BMJ and the associated third-parties, either suppliers or vendors, are obligated to sign an agreement letter, the vendor declaration letter, which outlines the protocols that each party must keep in step before establishing partnership.
Integrity is the key to a flourishing business, and it should never be compromised. BMJ shall do our best to always maintain integrity as our company culture.