It happened five years ago, but to the person involved, “Steve”, the whole ugly experience still feels like yesterday.
Long story short: Steve was a mid-level manager at a large-ish manufacturing facility. He reported to the general manager “Mary” who was a control freak and bully.
One day, Mary ordered Steve to authorize an $8,000 invoice. Trouble was, it was from a supplier he’d never heard of.
Alarm bells rang so Steve discreetly rang Mary’s boss, the CEO and founder of the business. He too knew nothing about the invoice.
An investigation ensued. Turned out Mary had been quietly siphoning company money to her personal account for two years to the tune of $3 million.
She was found guilty on charges of fraud, and is currently completing a four year jail sentence.
As for Steve, he’s been promoted to general manager.
But it could have been very different.
What if he’d decided to authorize the invoice and simply turn a blind eye? After all, he would just be following orders, right?
His employer’s well-documented code of ethics clearly states ‘any suspicion of fraud must be reported’. If he’d chosen not too, he too could have been implicated, and likely to be incarcerated once the truth inevitably came out.
This true story highlights the importance of creating an ethical culture in the workplace. Luckily for Steve, the anti-fraud code had been recently promoted internally, outlining the course of action an employee should take. It was an easy decision for him to whistle-blow.
Can the same be said for your employees? If in doubt, there are some proven techniques to help your teams act vigilantly, detect and report misconduct at all times.
At SnapComms HQ, we’ve developed a white paper specifically on “How to Promote Ethical Behavior in the Workplace” which you can download here:
Meanwhile, please share your stories about ethics in the workplace. Leave a comment below.