Code of Ethics
Ethics is a topic we have heard about in increasing amounts over the past two decades. People talk about companies who exemplify good ethics and about those with poor ethics, or a complete lack thereof. People talk about ethics daily, but what are they really referring to? Ethics are our moral principles and standards that govern how we behave and our beliefs. These can be very individual, determined by family and social groups, organizations, or by an entire culture.
Whatever your code of ethics may be, just know it has been influenced by many sources over the course of your lifetime. Your own code of ethics can be hard to put your finger on, but it is important to do so. A worthwhile exercise is to sit down and brainstorm what ethics means to you and what values are important in your life. Are “Green” initiatives important to you? Sustainability? Giving back to the community? Honesty and integrity? Or maybe just plain doing the right thing? Write those down and commit them to memory. Identifying your ethics and values can have a big impact on how you live your life. These values impact our decisions, feelings, and satisfaction on a daily basis. These are your code and contribute to who you are as a person.
Once you have these defined the next step is to use them as a tool in evaluating relationships in your life. These can be personal relationships, professional relationships, and your consumer relationships. Regardless of the relationship type it should align with your ethical standards and values. Relationships do not have to meet 100%, but they should not be in direct opposition of your values.
As a consumer would you feel comfortable giving your money to a company that uses unethical labor practices in another country, one that pollutes water systems, or gouges prices? These practices may not have a direct impact on you, but how does it make you feel to look the other way? What about organizations who don’t necessarily have poor ethics, but they also don’t do anything to improve the world around them? Some issues will be closer to your heart than others. Don’t feel as though you need to champion every cause. If consumers turn away from companies with poor ethics they will get the message. The businesses you patronize should make you feel proud to do business with them, and give you additional value in the form of supporting a cause you feel strongly about. A business will still need to meet your immediate needs as a consumer, and that should not be sacrificed. Just know, as a consumer, it’s not too much to ask for something more.
Another area of your life to consider is your employer. We spend large amounts of time and energy at our workplace, and our employer has a huge impact on our lives. Employee engagement, loyalty, and satisfaction with the workplace is on a declining trend. It is more important than ever to ensure your code of ethics and values match up with current and/or potential employer(s). You want to be proud to work there! Do your research on an organization you are thinking of applying with. Not only will this help you determine whether the organization is a good fit, but it will also show employers how committed you are when you are able to bring up their mission and values and how they relate to you. As an employer, Rogue strives to hire employees whose own values match up with our Guiding Values.
When many of us are young the only things that matter are the amount of money we make and how “cool” the employer is, or maybe just whoever will hire you. Right after college I applied for every position I could find. As time has gone on I realized what’s really important to me is working for an organization with excellent values. When I found myself looking for a new opportunity I really researched employers with openings and only applied for two positions. This search ultimately landed me at Rogue Credit Union. From my research I knew it was an excellent match from the open culture, to the community involvement, and so much more. I have regretted taking other positions in the past, but couldn’t be happier with my choice to join Rogue.
These are small examples of how your code of ethics can and should have an impact on all facets of your life. Your values keep you true to yourself and ultimately lead to satisfaction in your life. Values evolve over your lifetime, so it never hurts to reevaluate and keep them moving forward. It is your life, your values, and they should be customized to fit you and lead to ultimate satisfaction.