Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gainful Employment: Organization Culture and the Code of Business Conduct

Code of Conduct Information at socl
You have spent the last two years of your time, effort, sweat, emotions and tears into your education.  Now it is time to think about putting time into an organization for gainful employment as well as meeting the requirements for your internship.  Where do you start?  What direction do you go when there are so many decisions to make but more importantly—what salary can you expect from an organization so you can start adding experience to your resume?  Great questions.  However, as important as location, salary and benefits are to people’s endeavors for gainful employment—the most important consideration that most people forget to think about is, what is the organization culture like?  How do past and previous employees feel about the business culture for that potential employer?  How important is it to you to feel safe, valued, encouraged, and a part of a larger picture where you know you have potential for a long term future with that organization?  A good place to start is by looking at their Code of Business Conduct.

A wonderful unemployed lady tearfully shares her work experience after investing over 30 years into a company as a dedicated employee.  She spent over 30 years dedicated with many hours and days of blood, sweat, and tears into an organization looking forward to retiring only to be surprised one morning that she was being let go.  What does she do now that the organization she cared about decided they no longer require her services?  That experience that many in the unemployment lines—figuratively speaking—have similar experiences to share.  When a person invests that much time into an organization, becoming unemployed from an employer that you thought you were valued in is like losing your religion or going through a divorce.  The negative self-talk dominates thoughts as she wonders, “What do I do now?  Where do I go from here?”

Another unemployed person shares that their skills were out dated as the organization expected deadlines to be met without navigating or investing in additional training time and money to train their personnel with application changes.  Is it surprising that many experienced workers believe that because they have worked with Microsoft Office products their entire career but really do not know how to use the products properly in order to use or maximize the current existing features that have been added?  What is a person to do when they are let go because they are not aware how important proper use of spreadsheets, document creation, and new information sharing tools are in today’s industry? 

Whose shoulders do these business needs and necessary skill sets fall in order to meet current industry demands for business continuity?  It is a combination of both and it all begins with the organization mission, the values that organization holds and the sense of ownership the organization may have in social responsibility.  Most of those points will be stressed and impressed to new personnel in the Code of Business Conduct/Ethics.  The Code of Ethics, when top tier management has put serious thought into their expected rules of engagement from their employees, management, vendors, and contractors will be addressed and adhered to in the Code of Ethics.  An organization that cares about their end product and the role the company plays in the community will be reflected in the size and content of the Code.

Regardless of the type of end product, most successful businesses will have a Code of Ethics outlined beyond a single or two page brief document.  If the organization does not invest the time, thought, passion and money into a Code of Ethics that you—the potential new hire—must read, sign, and agree to, I strongly advise to think long and hard about how important your safety, your time, and the investment you will be expected to contribute for the success of the organization.  If an organization expects you to read, sign and agree to their Code of Business Conduct, do they request all personnel to read the new versions and updates every year?  If your safety, your passion, and your invested time away from your family is important to the organization, the Code of Business Conduct will reflect that message beyond lip service.  Additionally, it is a message to all involved parties with the organization, internal or external, will be expected to adhere to those requirements for business continuity and it will be upheld by all from top down.  It is my belief that a single page of Code of Ethics has little to no specificity that permits many holes for plausible deniability that affords many concerns for safety, security, and a professional non-hostile work environment.