Things have changed since Enron

Guide: How Entrepreneurs Act Ethically

More and more companies are establishing ethical guidelines. These determine how employees and management staff should act in certain situations. You will find out what speaks for it and how you enforce the guidelines below.

Modern companies know that fast turnover should no longer be the most important principle of a company.

Business success is becoming more common from sustainability certainly. How does a company operate ethically and how does it ensure that the guidelines are respected?

The Enron case - when ethics became mainstream

Some entrepreneurs remember the Enron case, which sparked a major scandal in the American economy. Before the energy company filed for bankruptcy, its managers sold their shares for high profits and also paid out bonuses. This moral disaster laid the foundation for that Ethical concept.

Practically all large companies now have one Code of Conduct, a kind of bible for workers. The provisions contained therein are intended to ensure that everyone ethical and lawful behaves - for his own good as well as that of the company.

Ethical guidelines do not guarantee ethical behavior

Almost every company has ethical guidelines. But are these also adhered to? According to the Federal Criminal Police Office's annual federal situation report on corruption, little has changed in Germany since 2006. The number of Corruption penalties is between 6,500 and 8,500 each year; There are some years in which there was a particularly high number of acts: 2010 (15,746), 2011 (46,795) and 2014 (20,263).

Ethical guidelines therefore have no direct influence on the behavior of a company or its employees, if there is none glass structure that make crimes more difficult.

Open an ethical company account

Before entrepreneurs Establish ethical guidelines and make sure that they are followed to ensure that the company itself has ethical pillars. One step in this direction is opening an ethical bank account.

An ethically correct business account literally puts dubious traders on the doorstep. Ethical banks, like many other companies, operate under strict ethical guidelines designed to protect their brand.

What exactly is meant by an ethical bank account? Basically, the account owner is guaranteed that the bank won't put the money in Arms deals, Nuclear power and other dubious things.

Community work instead of company outings

Opening a business account with an ethical bank is the first step in running a fair, sustainable company. But also in-house entrepreneurs should consider how they can really help the world. One idea: Instead of organizing company outings on a regular basis that are fun for the employees but do not make a social contribution, you should be better off help non-profit organizations.

There are countless NGOs and other organizations that urgently need help. This does not necessarily mean donations, but muscle strength. Whether the construction of a children's playground or the renovation of a children's home - such projects are usually sufficiently financed, but there is a lack of staff to implement them quickly

Do good and talk about it

Whichever social measure you choose: Reports about your engagement, be it on your company blog, in social networks or in commercials.

Every ethical company should show its partners and customers that it not only adorns itself with ethical seals, but actually does good. The targeted work on the self-image strengthens the image.

Tip: Document your actions in detail so that everyone can understand the purposes for which you have campaigned.

Charitable aid does not have to be expensive

Many entrepreneurs want to get involved in charitable causes, but they also keep an eye on their budget. Doing good does not have to be expensive. Nobody is forcing you to fly 50 employees into the slums of Mumbai to help and report on a handful of people there. Every company should offer help in its immediate neighborhood, namely according to the following priorities: local, regional, national.

As an entrepreneur, find out regularly in your town or town whether organizations need help; Assign competent employees to take a look at social channels and document calls for help.

Middle management is the key to corporate ethics

Charitable projects rarely protect a company from scandals. What is the point of doing good a few times a year if company bosses otherwise fail to observe the ethical guidelines? Sooner or later, the rest of the workers will imitate the behavior - unless you have one solid middle management.

According to a study by the Rotterdam School of Management, this group can prevent the ethical behavior of management staff from being negatively influenced. The study found that the closer they feel to workers, the more likely they are to imitate their boss. Consequently, it is very important that the management levels are not too close to one another.

How do you create distance? The easiest way is Accommodation of the top management on a different floor.

Conclusion: clear image improvement through ethical action

Ethics should be an important pillar in every company. But the bigger a company, the more difficult it is for everyone involved to act ethically at all times or not to influence third parties through their misconduct. Because of this, it is important to have some Distance between top management and the rest of the company to manufacture.

Katharina Grohe has been working in corporate consulting since 2007. She specializes in the area of ​​cash flow management. She regularly writes specialist articles for financial publications.