New research finds that the majority of working age Americans believe that integrity is on the decline in corporate America. Fifty-four percent of respondents say that integrity has gotten worse among companies during the past five years.
In a new national poll, Eagle Hill found that the integrity decline starts at the top. Only 15 percent say that corporate executives have the most integrity in the workplace, while 49 percent say that their colleagues have the most integrity.
"Without a foundation of integrity, a company is at risk," says Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill's president and chief executive officer. "Integrity is the cornerstone of how employees make decisions, act and react in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. When a company's integrity is in question, the negative impacts on earnings, customer retention and employee morale can be devastating. "
Just last week, Uber rolled out television advertisements from its new CEO promising a new corporate culture and that the company will always do the right thing. Last month, Facebook apologized before Congress for failing to protect user data. And, Wells Fargo has launched a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign to earn back trust following a massive fake accounts scandal.
"But, there is an upside. The integrity implosion is opportunity for all companies to pause and take a hard look at their culture and values. Given the polling results, every company now should be confronting culture. This means conducting culture audits, carefully hiring only those people aligned with your culture, and closely examining whether company leaders are setting the culture and values example and held accountable for problems," Jezior says.
"Culture and values are the heart and soul of any organization. When leaders and employees understand, embrace and live those values every minute at work, the result will be an organization that consistently delivers on its mission and goals," Jezior explained.
The findings are contained in a new Eagle Hill polling analysis, The Corporate Integrity Implosion, available here.
The polling also revealed that:
· The corporate integrity implosion is part of a larger phenomenon. Some seventy percent of Americans say that integrity is falling across the nation. Three-fourths (75 percent) also say that integrity is on the decline among government institutions.
· The overwhelming majority of Americans believe corporations and executive leadership might do something unethical. Some 87 percent say that corporations might do something unethical while nearly three-fourths (74 percent) say executive leadership might do something ethically questionable.
· Most people witness unethical behavior at work, but few report it. Nearly half (48 percent) of the American workforce has seen someone do something unethical at work. Yet, only 28 percent have reported unethical behaviors at their workplace.
· Most Americans have more trust in their colleagues than in their bosses or in executive leadership. More than half (54 percent) "most trust" their colleagues, compared to their boss or executive leadership, which is five times higher than "most trust" their executive leadership (11 percent) and more than they "most trust" their boss (35 percent).