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Ethical employment policies only scratch the surface

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Employers are yet to be convinced of the tangible benefits of ethical employment policies although many use corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities as a PR exercise; according to latest findings from IRS Employment Review.

While seven out of 10 organisations said they had introduced an ethical employment policy with one in 10 putting it on the ‘to do list’; half felt unable to assess the impact it had on employee relations.

HR professionals were seen to lead the way by championing ethical policies in their organisations. A huge 88% believing that their input had made a genuine difference to the organisation’s ethical profile. Promoting positive behaviour and relationships in the workplace were cited as the main methods.

Few employers had invested in a CSR manager or equivalent with only one in 10 businesses having the role in place.

Job applicants were also found to be unswayed by CSR issues when choosing potential employers, according to the 70.5% of respondents who said they had seen no evidence that candidates or employees were concerned about corporate ethics.

Improving corporate image was cited as a frequent reason for bothering with CSR issues.

IRS managing editor, Mark Crail said:

“Policies covering the fair and ethical treatment of employees vary in nature and coverage. From our survey’s findings, it seems that there is no guarantee that an ethical employment policy brings tangible benefits but HR managers report that it can be beneficial.

“Employers have some way to go before they are convinced about the long-term value of stand-alone ethical employment policies. Unless the results can be measured and shown to be beneficial, progress is likely to be slow. In the meantime, employers are more likely to commit to CSR activities that bring greater public recognition such as volunteering and charitable donations.”

The journal surveyed 51 organisations.

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