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Ethical training: More than just going green

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RecycleEthical training is about more than just recycling your paperwork. Kim Stoddart looks at what it takes to be an ethical training business and the benefits it will bring.







How to be ethical and successful has become more of an issue for training companies, exemplified recently by a new report from the Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) www.ibe.org.uk. The IBE began conducting its survey back in 1995 - charting trends and changes in the way companies use their codes of ethics to embed their values within company culture. The report clearly shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of businesses that provide ethical training and so it is now more important than ever for companies to become more ethically engaged.

Photo of Kim Stoddart"The report (from the Institute of Business Ethics) clearly shows that there has been a significant increase in the number of businesses that provide ethical training and so it is now more important than ever for companies to become more ethically engaged."

An ethical boss is one who treats their people well and never forgets that a workforce is the heart and soul of every business. Who doesn't want a motivated, hardworking team of trainers that are dedicated to your business? This is perfectly achievable if your employees are happy and know that they are valued. Having ethical practices in place is a positive step that ensures that your company has a working culture that people want to be part of and clients are significantly impressed by.

Attracting and retaining employees

Having ethical practices in place that include, rather than exclude your employees, is a positive step that ensures that your company has a working culture that people want to be part of. Building a reputation as a great place to work will not only help you to attract high quality candidates, it will also lead to high staff retention, which in turn is good for your clients and will ultimately benefit your company. Employees are increasingly looking to work for companies that make a difference in some way through their work, so any training company that puts a focus on becoming genuinely more environmentally responsible, for example, is going to stand out from the crowd.

Keeping employees updated on company developments and involving them every step of the way will ensure everyone understands the bigger picture of where your company is heading. Asking your workforce at all levels, not just those in senior positions, to contribute is very important. As well as making everyone feel valued it means that you get a different perspective on things. Obviously not all of the ideas that people come up with will be relevant but it's like a breath of fresh air to any business and encourages innovation and creative thinking.

Taking care of your people

If one of your trainers raises an issue, it is important that they are listened to and the problem worked through. This is why it is essential that an ethical training company has excellent communication channels in place so that every member of staff is encouraged to flag up any concerns straight away.

Ultimately, if you treat your trainers with the respect they deserve, they become much more than just employees and more partners in a community of shared success where there is no room for conflict. Soraya Shaw, managing director of Springboard Coaching (www.springboard-coaching), agrees:

"Employees are increasingly looking to work for companies that make a difference in some way through their work, so any training company that puts a focus on becoming genuinely more environmentally responsible, for example, is going to stand out from the crowd."

"Trainers are precious. They understand human nature, give a huge amount of themselves, care about the development of others and have highly valuable learnt and inherent skills. At the top of the economic agenda is the importance of employees acquiring new skills, being socially responsible and being innovative in finding new solutions. Trainers play a fundamental part in delivering these and are key in ensuring sustainability for the future. They are not a commodity, but a valuable resource that needs to be respected, valued, treated and rewarded well. They should be included in the debate of our future world as they understand people and, after all, people are what make the world go round."

Being ethical and successful

Respecting everyone and the different ways that people learn is essential and good for business. As Julie Harris, chief executive of IT training company Cosmic (www.cosmic.org.uk) says:

"Developing people and helping them to make the most of their ICT skills is at the heart of Cosmic's business. As a social enterprise we work hard to provide benefits to people, businesses, organisations and groups and to make sure that the use of technology is improving and enhancing lives.

"Taking a very hands-on role in the training room, staff at Cosmic always go the 'extra mile' in supporting learning of new ICT skills. It's essential that we provide an experience which our learners will enjoy and value."

Bringing your values into your training and appreciating that learning is not just confined to a specific subject, but includes positive behaviours and attitudes is a key element in becoming an ethical training company. Promoting ethics, social responsibility and care for the environment are no longer a 'nice to have' in business, they are the future of business and companies that adopt these policies now will be seen as forward thinking and ahead of the game. As well as being good for business and your workforce, being more ethically minded is great for you and ultimately makes running a business so much more rewarding.

Kim Stoddart is managing director of ethical media relations company Blue Rocket. For more information visit www.bluerocketgroup.com

Blue Rocket has produced a factsheet on how to be an ethical boss. For more information please email [email protected]

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