Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Human Resource Makes Ethics Possible


Sali Yakoub 
HR Professionals
Human Resource is derived from ethical behaviors. Professionals in a Human Resource department play an important role in shaping ethical standards. They develop, update, communicate and train others about ethics through enforcement programs. According to HR Focus, “promoting corporate ethics was a top-10 trend among HR professional in SHRM 2004-2005 Workplace Forecast.”Many have high expectations towards the HR department due to their responsibilities within the workplace. One of these roles is thatHR professionals have to determine trust and loyalty of their employees. Trustand loyalty relate to the ethical performance of an organization. It is essential for HR professionals to be aware of the critical issues for determining the comprehension of employees, especially company leaders, regarding the ethical standardsin the workplace. In addition, they offer valid information about the organization, including financial standing, workplace policies, and corporate missions, which influence these ethical standards. In a survey done by SHRM/Career Journal, it was shown that 27% of the employees said that leadership in an organization is ethical.

Creating Ethical Code
With respect to creating ethical codes, professionals in HR departments are asked to take part in communicating, drafting, amending and implementing their code of ethics. The code of ethics implies that "HR practitioners are required to act in ways that respect and further the rights and dignity of all individuals, and develop policies and practices that support this" According to (Duff Angus).  According to Frank Ashen, some factors must be covered when creating the code of ethics.

Some of these factors include:

v  Personal integrate – Explain how the companies respect and integrate in internal and external activities.
v  Confidential information – Explain what the company would consider to be confidential information.
v  Books and records – These would be information and transaction of the company and should not include any false information.
v  Conflict of interests – Explain how the company would want its employees to act in the interest of the company.
v  Employment police – This section would include information about how the companies treat their employees; from wages, career development to safety police.
v  Complaints – This section explains the ethics policy in the case of breaches and penalties.

Related to ethical codes there are two key concepts that apply. One of these concepts is "Dignity in the workplace"
Dignity in a Workplace
Dignity in the workplace refers to the rights and dignity of the individuals as well as the practices and the development of policies that requires HR practitioners to follow. Psychologies and Physical impact on workers is very common in a workplace, it is up to the HR practitioners to protect their workers from both of the impacts. According to Duff Angus "HR practitioners will not participate or condone any activities that threaten the rights and dignity of workers, including harassment, intimidation, physical or psychological violence, acts of discrimination of any form and sexual impropriety."

Balancing Interest
Balancing interest is another concept that relates to the code of ethics. This concept reflects on the need of the employees and organization concerns in the workplace, which needs to be enclosed by the HR practitioners. This concept helps HR practitioners to remember they have a responsibility to not only the employers of the company but particularly the employees. An example give by Duff Angus is, "This duty is similar to a civil servant, who is employed by a city or town, but has a duty to the citizens of the community impacted by their work."

Training Tips
It is imperative for employees to receive proper training regarding codes of ethics and grasp the meanings and effects on the organization. To help employees understand the meaning of ethical standards, companies use different situations to test employees to aid in their comprehension.Kathryn Tyler offers a set of questions for determining if an action is ethical or unethical.

These questions are:

v  Is the action legal?
v  Does it comply with our values?
v  If you do it, will you feel bad?
v  How would it look in the newspaper?

Implementing ethical codes
Ethical codes should not just be considered a policy that needs to be followed; they need to be perceived as a company’s central base. What I am trying to convey is that the code of ethics should be meaningful and have an appropriate culture rather than a sole list of rules for people to abide by.

According to Ashen,in his SHRM white paper, some HR roles of enforcement are:

v  Communication that is consistent, frequent and goes throughout the organization.
v  Regular, formal training.
v  Reward and punishment. An ethics component in the performance measurement and reward system emphasizes the company's devotion to the ethics code.
v  Compliance and investigation. Employees must be able to learn about ethics questions without fearing reprisals. Consider an ethics hotline or an ombudsman.

HR practitioners are the once who shape an organization through ethical codes. HR practitioners play a role as the face and voice of their employee's standards in a workplace through the importance of developing HR as a profession. Duff Angus propose that the code of ethics "reminds HR practitioners these are not "nice to haves" in the support of business but "must haves" that define the specific contribution made by HR practitioners to organizations." In addition, the code helped HR practitioners realized that the code should include compassion training, rather than just relatively advising the course to their clients.


Anonymous, . "How HR Can Facilitate Ethics." HR Focus. 82.4 (2005): 1,11 . Web. 3 Apr. 2013. <>.

Duff, Angus. "Code of conduct elevates HR profession." Canadian HR Reporter. 22.13 (2009): 23. Web. 3 Apr. 2013. <>.

Anonymous, . "Building ethics into HR." New Zealand Management. 49.10 (2002): 8. Web. 3 Apr. 2013. <>.

1 comment:

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