enterprise taking the high road

Taking the high road: The need for ethics in the new world of work 

by Jen McGlinn
Ethics has become a key business strategy for many successful companies.

Do you remember the movie Wall Street?

Released in 1987, the movie introduced the world to Gordon Gekko, the ruthless Wall Street banker willing to do anything in the pursuit of profits. And while Gekko eventually (spoiler alert) found himself in prison as result of his unethical behavior, his tactics forever colored the perception about what it takes to succeed in business: namely, that an unethical approach can give you a leg up on the competition.

Today, we know better. Organizations from all sectors of the economy have embraced ethics as a key business strategy, and have seen major benefits as a result.

A better way

As we’ve seen, ethics and integrity, valuable in their own right, are also good for business. They enhance your brand, boost loyalty to your company, and can help resolve legal and compliance issues before they actually become problems.

Moreover, this is where the customer’s mind is at today. From food to retail to electronics to automobiles, customers want to feel good about the companies from which they purchase their goods and services. Think about the companies that have enjoyed the most success over the past 20 years —Google, for example. Ethics is a critical part of Google’s brand — in fact, the company’s code of conduct includes the informal (and infamous) company motto “Don’t be evil.” And this isn’t just to look good to the public. There are real business benefits to ethics — according to Ethisphere1, which releases an annual list of the world’s most ethical companies, these organizations have historically outperformed others financially.

Making a commitment to ethics

I’m honored to say that our parent organization, Ricoh Company, Ltd., was recently named by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, joining companies like Google, Ford and Intel as 2015 honorees. Ricoh has made a commitment to ethics a key part of our culture throughout our entire history. And while our approach to ethics isn’t the only way to go about it, we have learned some lessons over the past 80 years that may prove valuable for your organization.

To demonstrate and reinforce our commitment to ethics, Ricoh has developed a comprehensive ethics and integrity program to educate and inspire employees to do the right thing. With this program, we’ve tried to make these ethical initiatives engaging and relatable by using real-world examples, rather than talking about ethics in the abstract. Our goal is to show employees how ethics should be a part of their day-to-day lives here at Ricoh, and to get them thinking about how to apply these concepts in their decision-making processes.

In order to reach every employee and turn ethics from an ideal into something real and actionable, we’ve instituted a number of programs, including: 

Take the high road 

Doing the right thing pays off. 
Not sure where to start? Here’s a brief list of steps to get you started:

1. Assess and map your current workflow
Take a step back and look at all of your existing processes throughout the care continuum. This includes everything that surrounds a patient being admitted to the hospital, diagnosed and treated and then discharged.

2. Identify gaps
Once you’ve assessed your current systems and processes, note what information is required, and when and where it is stored. Are there areas where information is being lost or mistranslated?

3. Find where technology can address these gaps
Chances are you found several areas where information flow could be improved. Consider what information mobility technology can help you improve those processes. Taking proactive measures towards reaching your goals can help to set your organization up for long lasting success.

Jennifer Mcglinn
Jen McGlinn is Vice President, Assistant General Counsel & Ethics Officer for Ricoh USA, Inc.. In her role, McGlinn leads a team responsible for the management of all commercial litigation matters throughout the United States, including litigation involving leases, service contracts, trade secrets, intellectual property and environmental matters. She is also responsible for supporting Ricoh’s Environmental Sustainability, Risk Management and Trade Compliance groups.
1 "World’s Most Ethical Companies Honorees." Ethisphere.2016. 
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