Using an Ethical Culture to Attract Talent 10:17, May 5, 2017

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Using an Ethical Culture to Attract Talent

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Attracting and retaining the right talent is just as important as growth and revenue. While compensation and work-life balance are important, an ethical culture is critically important to motivate talent and sustain long-term company value.

Pay and Flexibility Are Good Starts

All companies want to find great talent. They will need to. A report by the National Center for the Middle Market indicates that finding talent with the right skills, and competition with other firms to get that talent, is a major concern among executives. As a result, “many firms are considering improving salaries and offering flexible work arrangements to attract talent.”

Higher pay and flexible work arrangements are good starts. Research conducted by the ManpowerGroup reveals that out of 1225 survey respondents, 45% named work-life balance as their highest career aspiration. And a 2017 Society of Human Resources Management survey found that roughly two-thirds (61%) of employees rated compensation/pay as a very important job satisfaction contributor.

However, as my colleague Nicoleta Leontiades asks in Harnessing a Workplace Culture of Purpose, “is compensation enough to keep an employee working for a company they don’t find purpose in?” The answer is “no.” In addition to compensation and work-life balance, employers “should be considering what they can do to make their company more culturally sound, so that employees feel fulfilled with the company instead of sticking around for a pay raise.” This means an ethical culture. 

Culture is generally guided by the organization’s mission and values, its vision for its future, and a business plan that reaches goals without sacrificing integrity. These elements are highly specific to each organization, but they should be wrapped up in a commitment to ethics. An organization that embodies an ethical culture will reflect an ethos that guides all of its members to do the right thing for their company. Good ethics are good for business.

Attracting Millennials

Millennials are a prime reason to adopt and implement an ethical culture. By 2025, they are expected to make up 75% of the workforce, and want to work for companies that have a positive impact on the wider society in which they operate. An ethical culture is important for attracting and retaining top talent. The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey explains

Business involvement in social issues and “good causes” goes beyond the tangible impact made or the reputational benefit that might result; by involving employees in such initiatives, employers seem to be boosting millennials’ sense of empowerment. . . [E]mployees who feel their jobs have meaning, or that they are able to make a difference, exhibit greater levels of loyalty.

Many workplace factors empower Millennials. The Deloitte Survey ranked “working culture/atmosphere” the second most important, and “ethical behavior/organizational integrity” tied third with a company’s “reputation.” The top factor contributing to empowerment was “client/customer satisfaction.” It’s easy to see how these factors fit together to make a business better, where employees are attracted to companies with ethical identities and are intrinsically motivated to operate according to those identities when hired. In short, Millennials want ethics.

If companies want to retain a competitive workforce, it’s important that they develop and implement an ethical culture, and hire, retain, and conduct business according to their ethical identity.

LawRoom (powered by EverFi) delivers online training to help your business meet compliance requirements both dynamically and scalably. In addition to our award-winning online courses, LawRoom delivers a robust, cloud-based learning management system to help you easily deploy and track our growing library of ethics, anti-harassment, data security and employee conduct courses.

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Douglas Kelly
Douglas Kelly is EverFi's lead legal editor. He writes on corporate compliance and culture, analyzing new case law, legislation and regulations affecting US companies. Before joining EverFi, he litigated federal and state employment cases and wrote about legal trends. He earned his JD from Berkeley Law and BBA from Emory University.

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