A company or nonprofit should demonstrate its commitment to high ethical standards of behavior and provide documentation in the following categories. Below are suggestions of areas to address. Not all areas are required for a company to compete.
1. Management Practices
(If you are the owner of an organization with no employees, explain how ethics are used in everyday business practices.) Your entry should show evidence of ethical management practices. Suggestions for items to include in this section of your entry are:
- Pertinent sections from an employee handbook, company manual or training program (formal or informal) showing how ethics policies are communicated to and implemented by employees.
- Formal training and/or procedures used to address concerns an employee may have in dealing with an ethical dilemma.
- The existence of an Ethics Officer, Compliance Officer or Ombudsman should be noted, along with information concerning the responsibilities and authority of this position.
- Formal or informal management practices and policies that foster positive employee relations.
- Employee benefits and/or workplace practices which contribute to the quality of family life.
- Actions to assess risks and take appropriate actions to prevent workplace injury.
- Examples of sound environmental practices.
- Nonprofits should show strong board oversight through their board rosters, attendance at meetings, evidence of board decision-making, oversight of chief staff executives and adoption of policies.
2. Customer/Vendor/Supplier/Shareholder Relations
Your entry should demonstrate your organization practices positive business relations. Feedback from your customers, vendors, suppliers and shareholders display evidence of this practice. Suggestions for items to include in this section of your entry are:
- Examples of how your organization has prospered because of your belief in honesty, integrity and doing the right thing.
- Complimentary feedback from customers, vendors and/or suppliers.
- Organization policies and practices that assure excellence in quality products and/or services and demonstrate accountability to customers, vendors and suppliers.
- Actions taken by your organization showing it went "beyond the call of duty."
- Examples of cases where your organization had to make tough decisions that had negative short-term consequences and led to long-term benefits.
- If your organization is publicly traded, discuss how it demonstrates accountability to shareholders and adheres to good governance practices.
- Nonprofits should demonstrate regular and effective communications with donors/sponsors, parent or umbrella agencies, other constituencies and clients.
3. Marketing/Advertising/Communications/Sales Practices
Your entry should document the methods your organization uses to assure advertisements, marketing, sales and the like are honest and trustworthy. Suggestions for items to include in this section of your entry are:
- Descriptions of the methods your company or nonprofit uses to assure all promotional materials, solicitations and advertisements are truthful and accurate.
- Examples of efforts by your company or nonprofit to improve communications, advertising, marketing and sales practices which benefit your industry as a whole.
- Sales training/fundraising policies and/or codes of ethics used by sales personnel that ensure all transactions are made in an upfront and ethical manner.
4. Reputation Within Industry and Community
Your entry should illustrate your organization’s positive reputation with the community and industry through charitable recognition, awards or the news media. Suggestions for items to include in this section of your entry are:
- Articles in trade, industry publications and news media that reflect your reputation in your industry and community as an ethical business or nonprofit.
- Awards, recognition and/or complimentary letters from others within your industry, trade group or sponsors.
- Recognition for charitable and/or community service projects.