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Professional development key to success

AS a company’s communications officer or executive, what do you do if the company director forces you to do the unethical in order to serve a situation that only benefit him as an individual not the entire organisation?

People Management Issues with Robert Mandeya

I know a number of individuals in work situations who have to grapple with compromising situations like this and at times have been forced to compromise at the expense of business ethics and personal principles.

Situations like these have often put many professionals in ethical dilemmas.

Faced with such issues one is supposed to consider professional and community standards as well as one’s conscience. The best way to maintain a clear ethical or professional position is to focus on your clients’ best interests and that of the entire business.

Most organisations have developed certain guidelines that govern the conduct of people at the workplace. It is sometimes referred to as a code of conduct and it is the one that regulate behaviour at the workplace.

In situations where such ethics are threatened, one must make decisions that serve the public interest and their business, as well as their personal principles and professional standards.

Codes of ethics are established by professional groups or business associations for the purpose of protecting consumers, providing guidance for professionals or employees, and clarifying the professional stance of the organisations. However, these codes do not translate into the truth, nor do they provide ready-made answers for the ethical or professional dilemmas that many face.

When these values are in conflict, professional codes of conduct can help one determine a course of action. They are in fact the conscience of a profession.

Equally important, a code of ethics can give an employer a clear understanding of the standards of behaviour that his/her employees will follow. There is a growing need to train people in organisations on ethical standards of conduct vis a vis business demands.

Credibility and integrity are essential to any business entity and anything to the contrary will destroy the employee’s credibility, and ultimately obliterate your value to the employer as well. The trust of clients in an organisation’s services is hard earned and achieved over time through highly professional and ethical behaviour.

It is always imperative that an organisation’s code of behaviour mandates that a professional be truthful, accurate and accountable to the public and should not have conflicting interests, but work in the public interests; be fair and be a steward of the public’s trust. The code of conduct regulates both internal and external relations at the workplace. It sets benchmarks upon which one’s conduct and behaviour is measured.

Professionalism is the backbone upon which business strength and growth is hinged and it is the beacon for image and brand development. A lasting image is determined by consistency in professionalism.

Given the highly globalised competitive business world, many organisations are tempted to forego certain ethical and professional standards in pursuit of profits. While this can be expedient at the time, it is not sustainable in the long run and will not help increase the brand equity of an organisation.

To create sustainable and enduring business practices there is need to invest in the training of employees in ethical conduct of business. This training must be informed by the organisation’s mission statement. It is from the mission statement that the company’s policies, procedures and code of conduct are derived.

Together, the principles and values define the rights, duties and responsibilities of the organisation and all its members. The broad statement of intent defines the goals and resultant values accrued from business while at the same time respecting the rights and opportunities of both the organisation and the clients they serve.

By adopting a consistent pattern of professional and ethical business practice one would be able to create an incredibly adaptive and resilient brand in the face of fierce competition.

The mainstreaming of internal brand engagement with professionalism in the training of the human capital is now more compelling than before.

This integrated kind of training helps each and everyone in the organisation to understand the brand in a way they can own it while at the same time feel as an important part of the organisation.

Once everyone is “attested” into the organisational brand and code of conduct, it would create an enduring and valuable internal and external image that will be difficult to challenge.

It should also be noted that the training of members of an organisation in professional and business etiquettes, upholding of principles and values (personal or business) is now more necessary than ever.

Success in professional and business career as well as social life demands that you present yourself as professionally confident and socially polished. Such development will strengthen your personal presence at any forum – be it a business or social event.

The new dimension of operation has put the human resources department into the spot light, for it is no longer only seized with the mundane activities of recruiting and managing the workforce but also ensuring that the human capital is also “branded” into the organisation’s best practices of doing business.

In fact, the human resource function should be focused on ensuring everyone in the production line of the organisation is thoroughly grounded in, and share the broader mission of the business entity.

This can only be achieved by ensuring that internal training of people in an organisation includes brand engagement so as to help each and everyone understand the brand in a way that they can own it. Besides adding value, it would also distinctively define an organisation’ culture of doing business and maintain that competitive edge.

Robert Mandeya is a training and communication in management advisor. You can contact him on mandeyarobert@yahoo.com, mandeyarobert@gmail.com.

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