For decades, leaders were expected to focus on one thing: financial results. But we are now in the midst of an ethical revolution. Leaders are increasingly held accountable for poor behavior, and companies are pushed by employees, governments, and customers to step up and adopt a multi-stakeholder approach that serves social purposes as well as investor demands.
Canned codes of ethics that ask employees to check a box to certify that they’ve read the material and third-party online ethics training courses might be all that is required to comply with the law, but they don’t move the needle. Employees see them mostly as a nuisance they have to suffer through.
Business leaders need to do more. I’ve spent more than 30 years as an attorney studying workplace issues, as the head of Trust and Safety at eBay, and as general counsel at companies including Chegg and Airbnb. I’ve seen too many workplaces in which it seemed that legal and HR were just reacting to one problem after the next. Over the years I’ve developed the following six practices to help leaders be proactive, inspire their workforces, and stay ahead of the ethical revolution.
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