Organisations have to find ways of getting all their employees—and even their partners—to buy into their ethics. Without this universal buy-in, their businesses will continue to suffer the effects of unethical conduct. How to achieve this will be the subject of the forthcoming conference hosted by the Ethics Institute of South Africa (EthicsSA).
“Rules and codes can only create the framework for ethical behaviour, but if people don’t buy into those ethics, then their behaviour will always have to be policed—something that is expensive and not that effective. But if people believe in the value of ethics, they will act ethically by default,” says Professor Deon Rossouw, CEO of EthicsSA. “Our conference will look at how to get that buy in across the whole organisation and its supply chain.”
As all South Africans know by now, leaders set the tone for the whole organisation—getting leaders to act ethically is thus arguably the first step. Dr Johan van Zyl, Group CEO of Sanlam will share his experiences at the World Bank, Santam, Sanlam and the University of Pretoria to give delegates an insider’s view of the value of top-down leadership in building an ethical culture.
Professor Shirley Zinn will then tackle the challenge of how to get middle management and staff on board the ethics train. Brian Leroni, Massmart’s Group Corporate Affairs Executive and Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens South Africa, will complete the loop by advising how to get an organisation’s supply chain and industry peers on board as well.
“Getting ethical buy in from all levels of the organisation and its eco-system means moving away from a policing approach, in which people do whatever they think they can get away with, to a values-based approach, in which they do what is right. The latter scenario is by far the most preferable because it is dependable (and cost effective) in a way that the former never is,” says Professor Rossouw. “Attending this conference will give delegates new inspiration and insights to take back to their organisations—and really drive change and reduce risk.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information on the 5th Annual Ethics Conference to be held 18 May 2015 at the Gallagher Convention Centre please visit www.ethicsevents.co.za
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