Naughty workers get away with bad behaviour

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Companies talk big about their values, but do they follow through with action? It seems most employees think their less-ethical colleagues are getting away with bad behaviour.

A study from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)showed that 40% of employees said “individuals whose behaviour consistently goes against the values of the organisations they work for are either left unpunished or are rewarded or promoted”.

Only a third (33%) of those asked said that individuals were reprimanded for consistent rule breaking, indicating that employers are not doing enough to ensure that their business values are being upheld.

There is good news, and motivation for keeping those values front and centre- just over half (52%) of the 2,000 employees surveyed agreed that their organization's values positively influence behaviour at work. However, if your company puts a lot of pressure on profits it might affect adherence to those values – the top reason cited by employees who don't believe values have an impact was that profit was placed ahead of organizational values. The most cited reason by those in the public sector is that there is one rule for senior managers and one rule for everyone else, highlighting the importance of consistency and accountability at all levels within the organisation.

"In the wake of the banking crisis and other corporate scandals, now more than ever, organisational values should be at the forefront of business leaders' minds,” CIPD CEO Peter Cheese said. "At the heart of an organisation's culture has to be a set of agreed values that resonate with employees at all levels from the board to the front line in order to provide a template for the behaviours and standards expected.”

Communication was key to making this happen, with less than a third of workers (29%) saying they had a good understanding of their organization’s values.

"Involving employees in the values creation process will certainly help to make them more meaningful and  integrating values into people management processes and the way people do their jobs will also help to ensure values matter,” research advisor Claire McCartney said.

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