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Ethics in Business

I received an email from a recruiter in the UK today who had seen my blog, written just about a year ago, called Ethics in the Staffing Industry - Candidate Permission. He is experiencing great frustration at the number of times that he comes across competitors who will submit candidates for jobs, without first getting permission from the candidate. He is not sure what to do and even pondered "joining them" ... because "if you can't beat them you might as well join them".

I provided a few thoughts on the subject, but at the end of the day I suggested that by "joining them" he would be changing the very culture of his organization. If you really want to be an ethical company, then you can't condone unethical behaviour ... ever! You need to be true to your core values ... which I also blogged about some time ago.

At Eagle we still see people and companies who will do "whatever it takes" to win business, and again at the end of the day if they can justify unethical practices in order to win then they are not companies that will be around for the long haul, and they are not companies that I would want a relationship with.

A few months ago we were lucky enough to be able to hire some senior sales people who were leaving one of our direct competitors. They have long term relationships at the clients they served, and could easily divert business from their old company to Eagle. There are many reasons why Eagle has them working other clients right now ... yes there are legal reasons and business reasons, but the bottom line is that it is ethically the right thing to do. Ethical decisions usually come at a price ... but the alternative, the loss of our corporate culture, is not a price I am prepared to pay.

There is also a place for restrictive covenants when it comes to our industry because it is companies that pay for their salespeople and recruiters to develop relationships with their clients and candidates. To just take that next door for a few more dollars is not right, the company that paid for those relationships deserves, and should expect, a grace period to develop new relationships with those people.

Thus far I have talked about company ethics and company culture ... but whatever industry you work in your reputation is fragile, and if you are willing to barter your reputation for a few dollars then you are not worth much as a person.

If you are not much of a person and working for "not much of a company" you might have some short term success, but at some point there is a cost to pay.

To my UK friend I say "Take the High Road".