ethicsWhether you work in the property/casualty insurance industry or not, ethics matter to all corporations. With that in mind, a recent Harvard Business Review posting based on University of Pennsylvania research highlights ways that companies can improve their respective ethics climates.

One of the simple targets for this is how companies pay their employees and promote them.

The research suggests zeroing in on issues such as whether compensation focuses on “short-term results or long-term sustainable success.” Basically, a long-term compensation plan should include everyone from top to bottom at the company, to make sure the whole team focuses on those longer-term “sustainable goals.”

How employees are promoted is also key, the research and article noted. If an organization is a transparent and equitable one, everyone has a fair shot at promotion. Using that standard, executives must ask themselves whether their organization is a true meritocracy, and whether people who challenge the accepted way of doing things are valued. The alternative might be this: people are promoted based on a silent understanding that makes sure the status quo stays the same, and that, the research noted, could create ethical challenges on all levels.

The posting also recommends that executives be absolutely clear about where they stand on ethics-related issues, and be clear about what really matters in their organizations. Executives should also make sure they know how employees feel about the company, and also speak up if they believe something is going wrong.

For the full HBR posting, click here.