Tag Archives: Workplace

Are You a ‘Clone-able’ Employee? – Part 2: Integrity

Why Personal Integrity is Key

After serving in several senior Human Resources roles for over thirty years (both in Fortune 100 organizations as well as fledgling startups), I can state unequivocally that the most critical and valued employee attribute in most organizations is personal integrity. My rationale for this is simple: In the context of organizations where objectives are met and strategies are achieved only through the collective efforts and interactions of people, it is essential that those interactions be conducted with the highest standards of personal integrity.

Regardless of role, personal integrity is the trait that invites human beings to trust each other. Without a culture of trust, there is simply no way of achieving maximum organizational effectiveness because employees end up expending wasted time and energy on activities such as checking ‘what the others are doing’, being careful to over communicate information that should already be known to the key stakeholders, and generally behaving in a “cya” mode. As such, tasks take longer than necessary to complete, projects miss critical milestones and organizational effectiveness is the ultimate victim.

What does personal integrity look like? Well, it manifests itself in several ways. Personal integrity is clear in:

1) The employee who honestly reports hours worked to receive pay.

2) The employee who refuses to participate in office gossip or even worse, harassing behavior toward another employee.

3) The supervisor who doesn’t “play favorites” and manages employees fairly and consistently.

4) The manager who, rather than ignore the problem, addresses the inappropriate behavior of a top producing subordinate because of its detrimental effect on the entire team.

And finally, personal integrity is doing your job to the best of your ability and working to do it even better tomorrow.

In summary, it’s a combination of honesty, reliability, consistency, courage, and an appreciation for the contribution of others. Without it, the true potential for any organization is seriously jeopardized, or as I like to put it, the truly professional organizations “demand it” and the truly professional employees “reflect it”.

 

Al Sniadecki

Alan F. Sniadecki is principal and owner of Organizational Effectiveness Services, LLC in Carrollton, Texas. Al is veteran of the Financial Services industry having served over twenty years as the senior executive Human Resources Officer for several Texas based financial institutions prior to establishing his consulting firm. His practice focuses on improving organizational effectiveness in the areas of vision and mission development, strategy development and implementation, human capital management, ethics counsel and leadership coaching.

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Anonymity and Workplace Attitude

Recall the trust fall bonding exercise where a person falls backwards from a platform, expecting to be caught by peers? Now imagine if pent-up hostility meant a person dropped dead-weight to the floor. With the relative anonymity of tech gadgets, internal chat programs, and company portals, companies are experiencing similar incivility with astonishing frequency. Problems arise with:

  1. Inability to fit meaning in too few characters for appropriate context.

  2. Tech gadget multitasking during meetings or discussions.

  3. Unwillingness to engage in phone or face to face interaction.

  4. Calls and texts cluttering workplace with chatter and alerts.

Employees are unable to decipher cues when they cannot put a message into context. They in turn can feel ignored by another employee’s electronic gadget use, feel isolated with lack of interpersonal contact, or get irritated by all the devices alerts. This confusion can result in built-up resentment and the resulting hostility may be displaced on peers or worse yet on customers. Over-reliance on technology can result in difficulty building personal relationships, but proper training and well defined expectations and boundaries can be a key to mitigation:

  1. Publish policies in your workplace on conflict resolution and social networking.

  2. Help employees learn to identify subjective interpretation.

  3. Use pre-employment testing to identify potential problem candidates.

  4. Promote desired company culture and lead by example.

Adding workplace hostility training will outline a company’s expectations and define acceptable employee behavior. Encourage employees to inquire and ask non-confrontational questions to gain better insight when they are unsure of context. When management leads by example and provides tools to foster a culture of respect, employees can improve those skills. Weeding out potential behavior problems in the hiring phase can also help companies build better teams. Probably the best reminder to ensure common courtesy remains a priority on the job is to follow the golden rule: treat others as we wish to be treated.

Erika Boswell

Erika Boswell is Vice President of Recruiting at Financial Professionals, a Dallas-based financial staffing agency. With a background in Marketing and Management, Erika uses her expertise to place prospective job candidates and seasoned talent where they belong in the financial industry.

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