When it comes to being successful, perhaps nothing is more important to a business than personal and collective integrity. If you want to see it grow in your company, you can take specific steps to give it a boost.

Integrity is important to the success of your business

What Integrity Means

Integrity has two meanings, the first of which is to conduct oneself in an upright, moral, honest and consistent way. Looking at it under this lens, integrity is critical to business success in that it helps develop the trust, creativity and open communication that is so vital to corporate teams, business networks and sales processes. It also helps keep the reputation of the company stable.

The second definition of integrity is to be undivided or whole. This concept is especially important for an enterprise because a lack of cohesion between team members, departments or levels of management quickly can sabotage efficiency and progress.

Ways to Boost Integrity in the Workplace

Given how critical integrity is to a business, developing it among employees should be a priority. These are just a few ways you can help it grow:

Be thorough during hiring.

Presenting candidates with “what if” scenarios and asking other revealing questions during the interview process gives you a good idea of how strong their integrity is. Based on how they answer, you can make a judgment call about whether you would trust them to act responsibly.

Make it easy to report offenses or problems.

Managers simply cannot be everywhere at once. By creating a simple system for employees to voice concerns and report others who are being non-compliant, you up the odds that people will speak their mind and keep each other on the straight and narrow.

Work for two-way communication.

When you give employees a chance to talk with each other and upper levels of management, you encourage a high level of transparency and reinforce the idea that everyone is working toward the same objectives. By contrast, simply telling employees what to do or laying down the facts through monologue creates a wall, encouraging a disjunctive, us-versus-them atmosphere.

Listen actively.

Sometimes misunderstandings can happen even when there is dialogue routinely taking place. Listening actively ensures that you’ve provided not just the opportunity to speak, but also that you’ve really heard and processed what’s been said.

Be clear about your expectations.

The diversity so often present in the modern company means that people can have very different codes of ethics, and that they might not be sure what is appropriate. Through memos, meetings and other methods, leave no ambiguity about what you want to see and what the ramifications will be when there are violations. If you do have to enforce any form of discipline, do it quickly and consistently across the entire corporation.

Give rationales, not judgments.

Not everyone in your business is going to have the same skills or level of experience. That’s okay and expected. Even so, if you want integrity, you cannot fall into the trap of shooting others down just because you are different. Instead of dismissing what someone else says, thinks or wants to do, first acknowledge the merits his or her approach has and, if possible, thank them for the insights or participation. Then explain why you don’t agree and offer alternate solutions to talk about. Responding in this way helps workers feel as though it is safe to speak up.

Provide small (or big) rewards for being involved.

When employees participate in discussions, they are taking a certain degree of risk, opening themselves up to the possibility of rejection and embarrassment. If you show you appreciate this risk taking, workers will feel like they’re getting something back for going out on a limb. The reward can be as simple as saying “thank you” or as dramatic as a paid trip, but make it clear that you notice their effort–it’s basic positive reinforcement at its best.

Clarify who is responsible for what.

Drawing a line in the sand about the authority employees have might seem divisive at first, but when employees have a clear understanding of what each person is responsible for or can do, much of the fuel for conflict disappears. Clarity can come generally from your formal policies and procedures handbook, or it can come from verbal or written directions on a project-by-project basis.

Be a model.

Even when you have a set of policies in place, when push comes to shove, what happens in the office regarding integrity is very much monkey see, monkey do. If you promote one thing but do another, employees will get the message that what’s in writing does not matter. Set the tone for the workplace from day one by applying the standards you want to yourself.

Conclusion

Integrity is vital to the modern company. You can start developing it today using one or more of these approaches.

Looking for a system that promotes integrity and encourages employees to speak up? Learn more about anonymous employee hotline services and web-based reporting from CMS.

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