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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Can a human resources professional afford to turn a blind eye? Whoever came up with this phrase could not possibly have worked in our profession. At any rate, this commonly means to ignore something as if you did not see it. In most instances this is in reference to something that is perceived to be or is wrong. I believe this is the exact behavior that has the U.S. stumbling economically. Given this belief, of course, we would have to say that no one can truly afford to turn a blind eye. But we know in reality it happens. As an HR professional, if you have heard the following phrases:  “You didn’t see that”, “You can overlook this for once”, “We’re willing to take the risk” or “What’s the worse that can happen?” then you’ve been asked at some point to turn a blind eye.  So the question is “How often can you do this and still maintain credibility as an ethical HR professional and guardian of integrity?”

To make a difference, HR must always be seen as the credible activist that Dave Ulrich (et al) describes in his recent publication, HR Competencies.  This competency makes the difference between an HR professional who is going through the transactional motions and one who is strategically effective. Ulrich states that this means “operating in a principled way and taking action that is consistent with company values, which reflect how the company wants to be seen and experienced by customers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders.”  How often have you seen a company’s value statement endorse “turning a blind eye”? Never, right? So the answer to the earlier question is also “NEVER.” If you must, hang your hat here as you communicate the importance of approaching work with integrity.  How a thing is done should be just as important as getting the thing done.

Our reputations and ability to influence the organization as HR professionals depends greatly on how we are perceived and whether we are trusted. A single instance of ignoring a lapse in values or principles can topple your credibility and render you irrelevant.  Work diligently to maintain your integrity and that of your organization to reinforce your relevance to its success.  Do the right thing, never turn a blind eye.

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