2 Keys to a Successful Corporate Culture

Get the right people and give them the right tools to develop and maintain a culture of trust and ethical behavior.

Posted by Dawn Lomer in on April 10th, 2012

When it comes to employee behavior, there are some things you just can’t control. So if you want to build a corporate culture that discourages employee misconduct and encourages trust, you had better control the things you can.

You can start by encouraging trust in the workplace, says HR blogger Lance Haun, who is also Community Director for ERE Media and Contributing Editor for TLNT.com. If you can foster trust in the workplace, you have the ability to discourage some of the misconduct, he says.

One thing you can control is your management team and how well they’re communicating with staff. “You’re trusting people to do the right thing. You’re enabling them with the right tools,” says Haun.

“The second part of that is the coworkers,” says Haun. He stresses the benefits of a group mentality, in which everyone has the same ethical mindset. “It’s about hiring good people to work alongside your employees,” he says.

Providing the Right Tools

Giving people the right tools to communicate with one another is a critical part of building the kind of collaboration and trust needed for an ethical corporate culture.

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“We talk a lot on TLNT about some of these collaborative tools; basically tools that help people communicate better,” says Haun. “Simple technologies like Yammer that help people in groups communicate, chat programs, those are things we use internally, those are easy things,” he says. Intranet and collaborative platforms are other options for making it easy for people to talk to one another across the organization. “So somebody from HR can talk to finance without having to go up to a supervisor and go across the organization that way,” says Haun. This eliminates the communication siloes that can get in the way of transparency and trust.

Hiring the Right People

The second key to ensuring you have a corporate culture that discourages misconduct is making sure you are hiring the right kind of people.

“I think there’s a lot of convoluted ways that we interview people,” says Haun. “Everything from stress interviews, where I just throw a bunch of things at you to see how you handle it, to voodoo questions about how many manholes there are in New York City, just to see how you think. I don’t think these are really great ways to eliminate people.”

Haun recommends using behavioral-type questions, and being direct about what you’re trying to get out of the question. “You’re not looking for people who interview great; you’re looking for people who can do the job great,” he says.

Trying to find somebody with the right tools and skills is hard enough without have to add culture and personality traits into the mix. “Certainly it’s important to take into account but I think it’s one of those things…  you know it when you see it. You bring somebody into your environment for long enough you’re going to know if they fit in or not,” says Haun. “If you made the interview as stress free as possible and just tried to get as much information as possible, you’re going to get the best idea of the type of person they are.”

Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Managing Editor

Dawn Lomer is the managing editor at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.