Stillman Hosts Annual Integrity and Professionalism Convocation

By Matthew Radman,
Stillman News Writer
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Ethical companies stand out in today’s market climate. More businesses of all sizes are realizing and implementing sound business practices to build better relationships with customers.

On Wednesday, November 16, the Stillman School of Business partnered with four New Jersey companies that were awarded the honor of being part of Ethisphere Institute’s 2016 rankings of the “The World’s Most Ethical Companies.”

Managing Editor of NJBIZ, Tom Bergen hosted a panel including Chief Legal Officer at Dun & Bradstreet Christie Hill, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & International Insurance Business Ethics Officer at Prudential Financial, George Gannon, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Realogy Holdings, Liz Gehringer, and Chief Compliance Officer at Wyndham Worldwide, Korin Neff.

These leaders put into practice a set of core ethical values that coincide with Stillman’s core principles of integrity and professionalism.

In a post-recession era when many general consumers instinctively associate the word “corporation” with the word “greed,” lagging trust causes significant tensions in what is designed to be a free and open market system.  Even in the midst of increasing consumer confidence, only about 53% of the general population trusts businesses, according to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer. In their findings, 50% of people who said that they did not trust business cited their largest concern being their perceived failings to contribute to the greater good.

It is clear that to gain the trust of the consumer in today’s market, they must have a more diverse set of guiding principles, including ethical operations. The four leaders on the panel all contributed to their company’s success in being principled and ethically-minded.

An important topic discussed regarded the role that leaders in an enterprise play when it comes to ethics. While the CEO and ownership have power and influence over the manner a company operates in, direct supervisors have the biggest impact on leading employees in the right ethical direction. The panel defined supervisory, and managerial roles as being more of a coach to their team rather than just a boss. That kind of ideology is what separates these companies from others.

Good company culture is necessary to create an ethical environment. The four firms on the panel all agreed that ethics needs to be a constant conversation within an organization. The business leaders pointed out that communication within a business is vital for not only keeping that ethics conversation alive but for dealing with missteps that inevitably happen.

Following the informative talk on how the panel implements ethical standards in their companies currently, they discussed, retrospectively, what newcomers to the job market should know before joining a new job environment. The panel had refreshing insights for the room full of students. They brought up the importance of doing research on a company’s core values before joining. In a climate in which people are more comfortable jumping jobs, workers have an increasing level of choice in where they decide to work.

Companies must adopt a culture of high moral values to build a trusting relationship with both its customers and employees.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 22nd print edition.

Contact Matthew at
matthew.radman@student.shu.edu

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