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2019 – Time to reset your moral compass

Decreasing the risk of fraud in the workplace is not just about having the right checks and balances in place but also creating a company culture with a strong moral compass.
Each member of a team – from the front line, right through to the ultimate leader – needs to feel sure-footed in always doing the right thing.

Imagine yourself in the following scenarios –

  1. You’re nearing the end of a staff party at a local bar. You’re in a rush to get home and you realise the waiting staff have omitted/forgotten some of your drinks from your bill.  They’re busy with other customers. Do you wait for them to finish, inform them of their mistake and pay the full price or do you leave paying less than you owe?
  2. You and your team are working late so you arrange for some pizzas to be delivered to the office. The driver arrives and you notice that it’s not exactly what you’ve ordered and paid for but there are additional sides and toppings. Do you inform the driver and wait for your delivery to arrive? Or accept the order, getting more food than you’ve paid for?
  3. You and a member of your team are in a shop picking up some supplies for the office and you notice the cashier hasn’t scanned one of the items properly. Do you tell the cashier and pay for all of your items or do you say nothing and leave the store?

Each of these highlights an everyday situation in where a dishonest action may occur.

If you choose not to own up, you’re risking being seen as less than scrupulous.  You are also, inadvertently, showing your team, how you set your moral compass where you tolerate small wrongs – leading by example of what you consider as acceptable behaviour.

These little instances of dishonesty can carelessly instil a company culture that is more prone to fraud.

Why do morals matter in business?

Often, in the relentless pursuit of profits, businesses can lose sight of how crucial, a positive company culture and, a strong moral compass, are to staff morale, team cohesion and company growth.

As much as larger, ethical dilemmas are central to shaping your employees’ moral codes, making the wrong call in smaller, day-to-day decisions can mean that morals are undermined and vision and mission statements are not lived and breathed. This, in turn can develop an environment at greater risk of fraud.

The World Economic Forum explains, ‘ethical judgement is learned and cultivated over the course of a career. It begins with an understanding of one’s personal values[i].’

[i] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/the-most-overlooked-leadership-skill-having-a-moral-compass/

Spotting fraud in the workplace

There are well-proven tell-tales when a moral compass may be sending your team off course.

Decreasing the risk of fraud in the workplace is not just about having the right checks and balances in place but also creating a company culture with a strong moral compass.

Each member of a team – from the front line, right through to the ultimate leader – needs to feel sure-footed in always doing the right thing.

Published on March 1, 2019

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