Corporate scandals and misconduct are never long out of the headlines and pose a major risk to any employer. The media coverage and outrage put corporate activity under a microscope, but what can employers do to improve things? How can HR and people managers promote an ethical climate and ethical behaviour?

Unethical behaviour is not inevitable. As the CIPD’s evidence review argues, individual factors (rotten apples), organisational factors (bad barrels) and difficult or compromising issues (sticky situations) all play a part in unethical behaviour. Our employer's guide to ethics at work offers checklists and practical tips on areas such as developing a code of ethics, helping employees speak up and job design.

Learn how employers can take a more proactive approach, taking action before misconduct hits the headlines or an organisation falls foul of regulation.

We will also discuss how a climate in which employees can speak up empowers them to do the right thing. This requires more than a whistleblowing helpline and policies – it also needs staff training and a robust code of ethics, backed up by demonstrable action when concerns are raised.

It helps to demystify ethics by facilitating discussion and debate what ethical competence looks like in your organisation. A better understanding of the implications of their work will mean that staff are better equipped to recognise and respond to ethical dilemmas.

In an age of increasing demand for accountability, decision making in an organisation needs to be transparent and evidence based. HR plays a vital role in acting as a guardian of ethical behaviour. What’s more, as a function itself it must role model ethical practice through employment and management practices that enable people to flourish at work.

Media Centre

If you’re a journalist or member of the press looking for more information or to speak to one of our experts, please contact our press team. 

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Championing better work and working lives

About the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.