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Optimizing the Good Corporate DNA

Enabling Ethical Company Culture for Sustainable Business

IMAGE CREDIT TO PLOS

What is our corporate culture? Is it sustainable? Are we all committed?

For a while, I thought that not all long-standing companies and professionals reached the top because they did something good and extraordinary but because they executed their own tactics, used their connections and traversed their own path beyond all borders.

In my daily encounters, I have been meaning to find the good works associated with those big and popular names. If it is not evident, I may have missed it somehow. However, a genuinely good practice is always uncovered. Missing it may be just my shallow excuse.

In life, there is a huge difference between a habit and a good habit. At work, a standard corporate culture does not always mirror a good corporate culture practice. The latter is a foundation to a sustainable business. For me, profitability does not ultimately correspond to sustainability, a term that means beyond success.

A sustainable business (or a sustainable professional) is worth more than a jewel. It persists to shine brightly despite all hurdles because it has treated its people, cared for the environment and managed finances all very ethically.

Having reached 23 years of corporate life, I have observed that the mission-vision of a company is in place more for advertorial purpose than the practice of it. If such is the case, then the significance of viability is undervalued.

Sustainability, through good company culture practice is ensuring that financial, social and environmental responsibilities are carried-out at all times. This is when people can look up to us with a lot of trust and confidence.

My argument is that in order to earn absolute recognition and trust, the following socially responsible and ethical work habits centered on the 3Ps must be present in an organization at all times:

SOCIAL

  1. EMBRACE CULTURAL DIVERSITY. An organization is highly respected for openly acknowledging individual differences in talents, skills, experiences and opinions of its internal and external stakeholders. Each one is born with unique identity and the goal of life is to be able to adapt and behave fairly with the diversities of society.
  2. INVEST IN PEOPLE. Our employees are our top asset. They are the considered the backbone of the organization but they usually end up overworked yet underrated. Employee retention is just as crucial as recruitment. If we earned the trust and loyalty of our people, it is because we put their welfare on top. This includes, among others, sending them to professional development trainings, encouraging them to collaborate, recognizing their efforts and inspiring them to be themselves. This kind of relationship attracts open communication and alignment that helps to boost company revenue.
  3. LEAD A MACROMANAGEMENT STYLE. One of the main pitfalls of most leaders in an organization is micromanaging subordinates. I look at it as power tripping which is a sign of insecurity and incompetence. If we persist to dictate what the output of our people should be, then we do not need employees at all. Trust begets trust. We tell our people WHAT we need but allow them to strategize on the HOW. In this manner, we are maximizing our investments in manpower costs and allows us room for a spectrum of opportunities via new methods shared by our team members.
  4. TAKING ACCOUNTABILITY IS PROFESSIONALISM. We refrain from the too political habit of finger pointing and backbiting among our peers and subordinates. If we want to climb the ladder fast, we can do so through hard work and honesty without damaging the reputation of our colleagues. It costs us nothing to remain humble, responsible and straightforward but it costs us everything, including the image of our company, if we are so used to playing office politics.

ENVIRONMENT

  1. PROMPT COMPLIANCE TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY STANDARDS. Incentivize employees who are responsible in the use of company properties, energy conservation and proper disposal of water and wastes. Every staff is also obligated to report and take immediate corrective measures for any improper use and defect on company resources.
  2. ENABLE PAPERLESS TRANSACTIONS. Even if a company has overflowing or sufficient budget for the procurement of supplies and equipment, it still has no bearing. It is how we make best use of the resources that matters. For instance, maximizing the use of email communication rather than disseminating information on printed copy reduces cost immensely.

ECONOMIC

  1. TRANSPARENCY REPORTING IS INDISPENSABLE. Apart from annual reports, it is also crucial for an organization to provide employees and stakeholders (suppliers, customers, creditors) with transparency and/or sustainability reporting. Communicating plans and outcome to the workforce and stakeholders as often as possible and at an earlier stage fosters a culture of trust and inclusion.
  2. BRIEF MEETINGS ARE PRODUCTIVE. Avoid long and repetitive meetings. It does not only affect productivity but also an epitome of wasted time and resources. Most companies take this for granted that most employees end up being too unperturbed in the fulfillment of their actual duties.
  3. STRICTLY OBSERVE AND IMPLEMENT APPROVED COMPANY POLICIES. There are occasions when the leaders are the ones giving the wrong signal to subordinates in terms of complying with policies. “The big boss initiated it so we just follow suit.” If this logic becomes a management practice, then the company is already in jeopardy. Let us remember that influence comes from the top and that its corresponding consequence reflects the kind of character the influencer has and the type of breeding the company has produced.
  4. INVEST IN NEW IDEAS TO STAY COMPETITIVE. It is no doubt that we have smart minds in the workforce who are passionate to share new projects and seeing it part of the best practices of the company. Let us inspire our people by supporting their shared ideas. It will give birth to brighter and more fruitful opportunities for the company. We will never know the value of a potential opportunity if we do not take risks.

The United Nations Global Compact clearly puts it, “By incorporating the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies, policies and procedures, and establishing a culture of integrity, companies are not only upholding their BASIC responsibilities to people and planet, but also setting the stage for long-term success.”

As I browsed through company websites, I am ecstatic to see a link to corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities on most of the sites. With that link, I highly anticipate that it is a manifestation of what the company has been doing for long and is committed to do in its lifetime.

More than anything else, I am also hopeful that the intent of including a CSR page on websites is not simply for advertisement to boost company image but a promotion to exemplify the CSR best practices of the organization as a model to the rest in the business environment.

Enabling CSR Learning Journeys is a publication of Global Compact Singapore (GCS) formerly, Singapore Compact for CSR. It is a compilation of stories about the Singapore companies renowned for its good CSR practices and its fruitful journeys towards sustainability. I am very privileged to have been part of the publication team and the GCS. Check it out for more inspirations.​

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The author is a passionate and professional trainer on corporate social responsibility and business ethics, among other related topics. For corporate training, speaking or CPD requirements, please contact us HERE

Originally published at jitrrieconomy.weebly.com

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