Being too ethical, human nature, and transforming ethics risks into change opportunities are three major challenges in reducing fraud and corruption. These challenges were highlighted at the recent 8th annual Ethics Officer Learning Forum.
The event was hosted by the Ethics Institute of South Africa (EthicsSA); currently the only organisation in South Africa that train Certified Ethics Officers. Since 2004 a total of 1093 delegates have completed theoretical training, with 498 completing the practical component that is required to become a Certified Ethics Officer.
“Ethics officers are charged with the planning and execution of activities that reduce fraud and corruption, but that also build an ethical organizational culture,” said Prof Deon Rossouw, CEO of EthicsSA. “The purpose of the annual Ethics Officer Learning Forum is to bring Ethics Managers together to learn from one another.”
Leaders can be too ethical
“The ethical leader is not a moral saint to be feared and excluded by others,” said Tom Beale, a consultant in the field of governance, ethics and compliance. “A good ethical leader is someone that is genuinely concerned with finding a sound balance between the interests of the self and others. This will usually be evident in their strive for creating a workplace that is both ethical and enjoyable.”
Beale advises against leaving ethical conduct up to complying with laws, procedures and guidelines like the King Code of Governance. A more effective approach is to use ongoing training to entrench ethical habits and behaviours, after which compliance to rules and regulations will usually follow.
Plan for human nature to derail ethical intentions
“The purest ethical intentions supported by the best ethics training will be challenged by our human nature,” said Paul Vorster from JVR & Associates.
Ethical conduct means different things to different people, and when faced with ethical dilemmas people will act based on their own morals and values. Employers assuming that the morals and values of employees align with the ethical goals of the company face huge ethics risks.
Convert ethics risks into opportunities for change
An ethics risk is a situation that could force those involved to have to choose between acting ethically and getting a job done in an unethical manner. With relevant training, employees will know how to confidently act in the best interests of the greater good, themselves or the organisation they represent.
“Risk contains both danger and opportunity,” said Lea Annandale-Dippenaar, an ethics and enterprise risk management advisor. “Ethics risks hold opportunities for organisations to develop, grow and teach their employees to develop finer skills in managing and reducing ethics risks.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Juanita Vorster, 079 523 8374, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.atthatpoint.co.za
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