March 30, 2021

Ethical Culture is a Key Differentiator For Employers to Attract the Best Talent

Today’s candidates want more than just a good salary and benefits – they want to be part of ethical businesses with a social conscience. Culture is generally guided by the organization’s mission and values, its vision for its future, and a business plan that reaches goals without sacrificing integrity. These elements are highly specific to each organization, but they should be wrapped up in a commitment to ethics.

An organization that embodies an ethical culture will reflect an ethos that guides all of its members to do the right thing for their company. Good ethics are good for business. “Is compensation enough to keep an employee working for a company they don’t find purpose in?” The answer is “no.” In addition to compensation and work-life balance, employers “should be considering what they can do to make their company more culturally sound, so that employees feel fulfilled with the company instead of sticking around for a pay raise.” This means an ethical culture.

Sustainable strategies, ethical policies, community support, social impact, health and wellbeing really matter to businesses in their quest to secure the best talent today, and they matter to employees too. People want to work for companies that they are proud to be associated with, those that stand for something bigger than themselves. They want to be part of businesses that aren’t afraid to take risks in the name of social good or the environment, and those that put their people first.

The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey 2020 reveals that millennials are a prime reason to adopt and implement an ethical culture. By 2025, they are expected to make up 75% of the workforce, and want to work for companies that have a positive impact on the wider society in which they operate. An ethical culture is important for attracting and retaining top talent.


Commitment through culture

The problem is clear – there are many companies that provide the same service or product and they all need the same great talent. So, here is the key question: How are you going to get the best and brightest candidates to work for you? The answer is “through your company culture.”

Job seekers often choose the company whose ethics most align with theirs, especially in fields with little difference in job description. Principles are exceeding pay as the deciding factor for many job seekers.

‘How can I find a firm that aligns with the kind of person I want to be?’”

Integrate core values – core values are created to build a sense of trust with your employees, shape the organizational culture and a sense of clarity and purpose for the workforce to be clear on what they need to work towards every day. Once these values are set and shared across the organization, a process must be established to hold employees accountable for any actions which cross ethical violations.

Business involvement in social issues and “good causes” goes beyond the tangible impact made or the reputational benefit that might result; by involving employees in such initiatives, employers seem to be boosting millennials’ a sense of empowerment. Employees who feel their jobs have meaning, or that they are able to make a difference, exhibit greater levels of loyalty.


Leaders must model the behavioural norms they expect employees to follow

Achieving an ethically strong workplace involves the cooperation of every employee, from top decision-makers/leaders to entry-level employees. No matter which level you are at, you need to ensure that all your actions are fair and just, particularly if you are entrusted with a position to lead. This will ensure a positive work culture in your organisation. Always remember that every one of your employees deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of who they are or which position they are at. So, ethical leadership creates a trickle-down effect that helps to attract and retain the best employees, develop a reputation for sound ethics, and implement more sustainable practices.


A focus on ethics builds a positive brand image

A positive brand image is built from within the company—the people, the culture, and the decision making. This all ties back to the new opportunities and top talent your company attracts. Businesses rank higher in their industry if they’ve gained a reputation for ethical decision making. ManpowerGroup, for instance, has been recognized by Ethisphere as a World's Most Ethical Company for the eleventh year, scoring highly for ethics and compliance, organizational culture, governance, corporate citizenship, and leadership and reputation.

Hence, if companies want to retain a competitive workforce, it’s important that they develop and implement an ethical culture, and hire, retain, and conduct business according to their ethical identity. Organizations should continually advocate the role that their industry plays in promoting fair recruitment practices and upholding high standards for employment.



This article has been contributed by ManpowerGroup Malaysia.

Written by: Yogakumari Shankar, Prospect & Content Development Executive.