Five Elements of E&C Success in 2018

December 20, 2017 Susan Divers

As we close out 2017 and look to the year ahead, it’s time to reflect on the top issues keeping  E&C professionals up at night. The astonishing headlines notwithstanding, there are lessons learned from the year’s tumult. A strong program that addresses these issues can enable you to rest easier as we head into what promises to be another challenging year.

Listen Up, Managers and C-Execs

Leaders and front-line management who are prioritizing values and culture, do so by truly listening to employee concerns—and appropriately responding. Employees are feeling more empowered to speak up, which means “listening up” is ever more crucial. The major scandals and latest sexual harassment cases have all involved employees speaking up–only to be ignored. The worst of all possible worlds.

From the line and middle manager all the way up to the C-suite, everyone must be trained to listen, to respond appropriately and to reinforce company values. In fact, as Divers points out, more than 90 percent of ethics complaints go to managers, not the hotline, so training managers on how to intake those concerns, elevate them for resolution, and respond to those who raise them is critical. In addition, coach the C-suite to recognize that they must be dealt with, consistent with company values, or risk seriously damaging the company.

Accessible and Transparent Policies

Just like physical facilities must be accessible for all employees, so must policies. Jargon, rules layered on more rules, and needless complexity have created opaque policies that erode the intended objectives and intentions of the company. In the area of preventing sexual harassment, this is particularly true where long lists of “don’ts” obscure the need to act with respect and care no matter what activity is at issue. Refocusing policies on clarity, values and behavior can pay big dividends.

Transparency in an organization is crucial for spotting compliance violations and unethical behavior early on for employees, managers and leaders alike. This means building avenues of open communication that go well beyond offering a hotline. Employees should be encouraged to come forward to their managers to share potential ethical concerns, and managers should be trained in how to listen to – and respond to – complaints and concerns when they hear them.

With sexual harassment as the workplace issue of 2017, it is no surprise full-year statistics show Harassment & Discrimination as the second most popular category of LRN courses taken for the full year, second only to Privacy & Data Protection (see table).

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