No matter what is the environment around you, it is always possible to maintain a brand of integrity. – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
Integrity is one among the foremost necessary values of life – an essential ingredient for every workplace. Integrity ingrains a high sense of accountability which makes one auto answerable and responsible for one’s action, thought and deed.
Integrity describes the character of an individual who chooses to commit to honesty when he or she is faced with a situation between right and wrong. Being full of integrity must be a predominant trait.
Any organization cannot be envisaged without employees that maintain high ethical values. The values practised by the employees determine how an organization is perceived from outside as such establishing and nurturing a compliance culture with integrity is required from all the stakeholders whether it be small or big. In the absence of integrity, the culture within the organization would always be at reputational risk and any prosperity cannot be sustainable.
It is difficult to practice but saves from moral turpitude…
One very interesting factor about integrity is that all want the other to be honest in all its dealings but when it is their turn to reciprocate, many of them think twice before dealing fairly. The measurement of the standard of integrity is the same for all and it should be a self-imposed standard of life as it begins from self and permeates through the entire system one is attached to. It is very easy to get lured to the preponderance of dishonest gains and manipulative profits more so when one is at a sensitive position in any organization. But, it is the value inherited, lessons learnt and wisdom practised in one’s life that lays a resonant impact on one’s personality and keeps one upright in all situations.
Impact on organization and organizational behavior…..
Trust, accountability and integrity are the lifeline of BFSI (Banking Financial Services & Insurance) sector which deals in money and finance. Integrity of the employee dealing with the customer as well as integrity of the employer working in the supervisory role constitutes an important pillar of trust which holds the organization up and right. When employees actively practice integrity in the workplace, they tend to feel more pride and ownership in the organization because of the reinforcing trust of customers and various stakeholders.
When employers and employees become mutually accountable to each other, employee can have faith that their work will be rewarded appropriately. The integrity of both parties confluences in leadership integrity which can help provide employees with a sense of empowerment and belongingness which provides a unique strength to employees to not to fear retribution for their honest opinions and ideas so as to enjoy the freedom of expression which in turn brings in them greater cohesiveness with the organization and, therefore, they perform better, more efficiently and more creatively.
If management of any company indulges in any such act wherein integrity is compromised, other employees will follow suit. Conversely, an organization supported with strong values will win sustainable trust and create an environment of value based performance and growth. Therefore, the right way to leadership is to lead by example.
Functionaries at leadership positions, however, must set the stage for a trustful ecosystem by manifesting integrity in all its action. In a report published by the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Research, employees are inclined to work efficiently; reducing risks and having better control on loss when they feel dignity in their place of employment because of the accountability and integrity adopted as a symbol of identity in the organization.
Lack of Integrity costs and damages immeasurably……
As per the data published by Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Finance (Government of India) titled Person Held Responsible for Bank Frauds, total 44016 frauds have taken place in various banks hitting it with a loss amounting to Rs. 185624.05 Crores in the last 11 years. Further, total number of employees against whom action initiated/taken in these frauds during 2015-2017, amounts to 5785, 4360 and 3804 in the year 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The fallout of failure in maintaining integrity is manifold. From losing respect in relationship at personal life to getting discarded in public life to getting involved in fraud, act of misconduct and as a result getting demoted, punished and neglected everywhere is very common.
The path of integrity can be imposed perforce by enforcement agencies as well as the organization’s leaders in circumstances where morality witnesses downfall. The scar caused by the imposition of one’s self to wrongdoing by breaking the shield of integrity is far more painful and scathing than punishment and disregard one undergoes.
Need for fostering integrity…..
The employees of a company serve as the foundation of a company as such it is vital that this foundation is built on a strong value system. Promoting the values the management wants in the organization doesn’t guarantee they’ll be adopted by all because there are multiple influences on people’s behaviour. It goes without saying that a carrot and stick policy remains existent in more or less all organizations, but it is not so easy to ensure zero levels of unethical incidences. Hence, it is essentially important to understand that individually whether one is an employee or the employer integrity and accountability must be essentially practised, constantly appraised and fostered.
Authored by – Vineet Kumar Das
Senior Manager ( Faculty) at a PSB