Ethical Business Practice

Scoring BBBEE points, winning tenders or voting, is it ethical?

On the eve of the South African elections and his ABET and Learnership Company’s 23rd birthday, Joe Clack, Financial Director of Triple E Training Holdings (Pty) Ltd, is outspoken about the significance of ethical business practice. Employers provide ethical principles for workplaces so that the entire workforce can conform to the same standards, in spite of individual opinions, values and cultures. To implement effective workplace ethics and instill confidence in all employees of these, employers must clearly define and promote the objectives of the company. “I am extremely proud that we have strived to and maintained integrity in Triple E Training for its entire existence which is nearly twenty three years,” Clack states. “In the world of ABET and Learnerships, yes, we’ve made mistakes, but we have stayed true to our values.” With the pressure to become economically black empowered (BBBEE), win tenders for ABET and Learnerships and stay ahead of the game, some training companies do get involved in unethical practices. And this just starts a slow rot. Employees feel uneasy and because they have no ethical principles to follow, they make decisions based on their own values and these values differ and create conflict. Clack states, “Ethical business practice encourages mutual workplace values. This encourages improved productivity and “gees” amongst employees. If we encourage our support departments and facilitators of ABET and Learnerships to maintain these values, we will even impart these values on all the learners we meet. ” Clack states that as a child he was taught to “do unto others as you have them do to you” and this Golden Rule definitely applies to companies. “Over the past years, and some days it feels like a hundred, I’ve learnt that honesty is the Golden Rule. Be honest with your clients, suppliers and staff. Leaders who act with integrity set an ethical foundation for their business which will be followed by its workforce.” Ethical Business Practice of any worth is only possible when senior management and employees practice ethical behavior constantly and consistently. A positive, healthy ethos cannot sustain itself if people sometimes adhere but also sometimes compromise company values. Consistency and accountability are key. Clack is adamant his employees are the best in the industry and says, “I attribute our ethical business practice to the board of directors and long-serving staff of Triple E Training, many of whom celebrated 20 years of service last year. They do what they say and honour our vision and mission. Integrity is being transparent and building and maintaining trust with colleagues and clients. Through trust, respect is earned. The South Africa Charter of Ethical Business puts it beautifully, ‘Respect requires acknowledging others’ rights and inherit human dignity.’ ” Whether scoring BBBEE points or winning tenders or voting for a party, consider if it’s ethical. It’s worth it.