ethics and integrity

Ethics and Integrity – Are The Standards Different in the Profit and Non-Profit Worlds?

Shortly after beginning my career with The Melior Group I became involved in our Ethics and Integrity work, specifically creating stand-alone surveys to measure ethics and compliance culture amongst employees at multi-national corporations.  Last year I wrote about three steps organizations can take to improve their ethics and compliance culture.

In addition to Ethics and Integrity, over the last several years I have become involved in The Melior Group’s work in the non-profit arena.  We work with non-profits to help them learn more about their customers –their users, their donors, and their funders.  We use a “business lens” and look at “buyer behavior” to provide guidance to these organizations on a variety of issues.

While our work in Ethics and Integrity has been concentrated in the for-profit area, there is a connection between these two areas:  Ethics and Integrity are important throughout all of the business world, including in the non-profit sector, and specifically involving philanthropy.

A recent reading of Funders & Power – Principles for Honorable Conduct in Philanthropy piqued my interest.  This document was created to help funders delineate the boundary between strong philanthropic leadership and abuse of power.  It outlines broad standards of conduct, including seven principles that funders should follow and recipient organizations should expect, including being ethically consistent and treating all with respect and partnership.  Although this document specifically references Jewish philanthropy, it can be argued that these principles and goals are far reaching and should be considered by all – specifically those making the donations, and those accepting them.

Do your funders make unrealistic requests tied to their philanthropic donations or project funding?  An article written in response to the Funders & Power document suggests that organization staff need to “be bold enough to call out funders for behaving poorly, and wise enough to phrase challenges constructively so that people feel they have an opportunity to improve rather than a need to defend themselves.”

Does your staff know how to react to these requests?  First and foremost is the need to create a culture of ethics and integrity in your organization.  It starts from the inside: there’s no replacement for knowing what employees think and feel, and are likely to do when confronted by an ethics issue.

An employee survey dedicated to ethics and integrity establishes a baseline measure that allows for a better understanding of the level of integrity that resides in your organization, and what employees need to learn and understand in order to feel a part of the process. This survey tool, often used in the for-profit world, can and should also be used in the non-profit world for measuring ethics and integrity amongst employees.


Interested in learning more about how our clients have used stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance surveys to create and sustain a culture of ethics and integrity, or how our non-profit clients have used our buyer behavior research? Please reach out to Sindey Dranoff at 215-545-0054 ext. 108 / sdranoff@meliorgroup.com.

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Ethics and Integrity: 3 Ways to Make 2016 Better Than 2015

We began 2015 with the infamous “under” inflated footballs and ended it with a political staffer allegedly abusing a technological flaw to obtain competitive information for the benefit of his candidate. In the middle of the year we had the Volkswagen scandal, a pharmaceutical executive choosing to raise prices to astronomical levels because he could – and then being arrested for misleading investors, and of course those in power at FIFA were finally banned from professional soccer. We could all probably think of many other examples of unethical and/or illegal behavior, some of which likely happened much closer to home.

These incidents (and others) all have one thing in common – each of them occurred in a culture which provided people the opportunity to ‘break the rules’ for their own betterment. The Democratic National Committee now “expects each campaign to operate with integrity” going forward. Why do they need to say this? What does integrity mean today?

Individuals who commit ethics and integrity violations can create serious consequences for their employers, not the least of which is fines and public scrutiny. It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure that there is a culture of ethics and integrity in their organizations, and that ALL employees are on board with this culture. Creating the culture is a start, but sustaining it is crucial to long term success.

Here are three things you can do in 2016 to help ensure that everyone in your organization is acting with integrity:

  1. Leadership needs to walk the talk and lead by example. The tone at the top should demonstrate a commitment to integrity and set proper expectations for employees.
  2. Include employees in the process – employees are more likely to act in an ethical way if they feel they are included in the design of the culture. Organizations that incorporate employee input and evaluations within their Ethics and Compliance programs are more likely to sustain a culture of Ethics and Compliance.
  3. A few ethics questions on a Corporate Culture survey is a good place to start – but a stand-alone employee survey dedicated to Ethics and Compliance establishes a baseline measure that allows for a better understanding of whether integrity resides in the organization and what employees need in order to feel a part of the process and allows the organization to track improvements over time.

If you want to address situations before they become real problems, there’s no replacement for knowing what employees think and feel, and are likely to do when confronted by an ethics issue. While utilizing the results of a stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance survey can’t eliminate all potential ethics and integrity issues, it is a way to help your organization start 2016 in the right direction.


Interested in learning more about how our clients have used stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance surveys to create and sustain a culture of ethics and integrity? Please reach out to Sindey Dranoff of The Melior Group at 215-545-0054 ext. 108 / sdranoff@meliorgroup.com.

MeliorGroup Ethics and Compliance Surveys

Deflate-Gate… Integrity, Ethics And Compliance At Its Best… And Worst

Football fans in New England are rejoicing — the judge ruled that Tom Brady can play football when the season opens this week. But – the judge was careful not to say that Mr. Brady behaved in an ethical manner or that he did no wrong – but just that the NFL handled the situation so poorly that he could not punish Mr. Brady.

The word “integrity” is being tossed around like a football — the NFL Commissioner, Mr. Goodell saying that Mr. Brady put the integrity of the game of football at jeopardy, and the Patriots owner, Mr. Kraft suggesting that Tom Brady has a high level of personal integrity and he would never knowingly do anything unethical.

Whom you believe is a personal preference, but ethics and integrity are at the center of the Deflate-gate case. Employee understanding of what is right and what is wrong, and what they should do when they think something is wrong is not only at the heart of this case – it is at the heart of business in general. This goes much further than the level of air pressure in a football.

Is There A Culture Of Compliance In Your Organization? 

Employees in all organizations have an obligation to report ethical violations; whether or not they are sure what they saw was a violation. Employees are taught and trained to understand the rules and to do the right thing in business situations – but do they really understand? Will an employee report their co-worker, if not why not? Do they fear retaliation? Is there a culture of compliance in your organization?

One proven way to understand an organization’s compliance culture is to conduct a stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance survey. These surveys are not just a few questions on the annual Employee Engagement survey – but separate, distinct and directed. Just by using a stand-alone survey employers send the message to employees that Ethics and Integrity are important to the organization.

Pinpoint Where There May Be Issues

We have used surveys to help organizations learn where there may be issues, and how to correct them. We helped one organization to pinpoint a need for more live training in a specific region. The training was shown to not only increase knowledge, but also to decrease Code of Conduct violations. In another case more directed communications were developed because of our survey.

The New England Patriots will be playing football with a full squad this fall. But the questions about the integrity of the game, the players and staff, and the equipment will still be there.


The Melior Group has developed, conducted and analyzed standalone employee Ethics and Compliance surveys for the past eight years. For more information about how we can help your company maintain a culture of compliance please contact Sindey Dranoff at sdranoff@meliorgroup.com / 215-545-0054.

Prevent An Ethics And Compliance Nightmare With Employee Engagement

We can’t check out the news, turn on the TV or listen to the radio without hearing about another integrity, ethics and compliance situation. The first month and a half of 2015 has already brought us deflate-gate, Brian Williams and now the Jackie Robinson Little League fiasco.

These incidents have one thing in common – a person who chose to ‘break the rules’ for the betterment of someone or something. A team pushed the limits, an employee thought it better to embellish than tell the truth, and a coach “stretched” the geographical boundaries for recruiting. These are only the incidents that come to mind quickly. I am sure we could all think of other examples of unethical behavior.

For corporations, ethics and integrity violations have serious consequences, not the least of which are fines and public scrutiny. It is the responsibility of leadership to ensure that there is a culture of ethics and compliance in their organization, and that ALL employees are on board with this culture. Creating the culture is a start, but sustaining it is crucial.

Including employees in the process goes a long way to making this happen – in experience with our clients we have seen that employees are more likely to act in an ethical way if they feel they are part of the process. By having employees evaluate the firm’s performance on Ethics and Compliance and share what they know (and don’t know) an organization is more likely to sustain that culture of Ethics and Compliance.

A stand-alone employee survey dedicated to Ethics and Compliance – rather than just a few questions on a Corporate Culture survey – should be used for this purpose. This sets the tone, stresses the importance of compliance and allows for much deeper and richer information gathering.

Our clients have been able to use our survey analysis to address potential issues – before they become real problems. For one client, our survey results suggested a specific region where additional training was needed on a specific topic. The client provided the training and in the follow up survey we saw a significant improvement in understanding of that topic – and more importantly the client saw a decrease in violations.

While utilizing the results of a stand-alone employee Ethics and Compliance survey can’t eliminate all potential ethics and integrity issues, it can help to keep your company out of the news.

Interested to learn more? Please reach out to Sindey Dranoff of The Melior Group by phone 215-545-0054 (x-108) or by email sdranoff@meliorgroup.com.

The Melior Group Helps Avon To Create And Sustain A Culture Of Ethics And Compliance

Many surveys that measure the impact of programs and policies to instill a culture of Ethics and Compliance in an organization miss one important mark: most often, these surveys ask no more than a couple of questions about ethics and embed them in a large study of corporate culture. This understates the importance of having a corporate climate that recognizes the role of employees in assuring they value ethical behavior and are on board with corporate goals for compliance.

By conducting a survey dedicated solely to Ethics and Compliance, an organization gains more pertinent and actionable guidance for knowing what to do to assure a culture of ethics and compliance (and whether it’s working) than it does by asking these few ethics questions.

One large multinational corporation, Avon, relied on The Melior Group, a specialist in survey research, for its important measurement of ethics and compliance culture. From the survey, Avon learned where its associates need additional training, developed benchmarking metrics for use to measure change, and better understood employee perceptions of the firm with regard to ethical compliance.

Since the survey is conducted by an objective third party, and employees are assured confidentiality of responses, management receives an honest assessment of its communication and implementation programs as well as perceptions of management adherence with Ethics and Compliance policies.

In a recent Inside Counsel article, Richard Davies, Vice President of Legal and Compliance at Avon, shared that an objective standalone employee Ethics and Compliance survey was one of three intertwined methods he recommends an organization use to create and sustain a culture of compliance. The Melior Group created and has conducted this annual survey for Avon since 2013.

For the complete article: http://www.insidecounsel.com/2014/11/18/the-avon-way-creating-and-sustaining-a-culture-of

For more information on Melior’s Ethics and Compliance Survey programs: Contact Sindey Dranoff at sdranoff@meliorgroup.com