Ethical leaders inspire those around them to perform at their best, and shape positive workplaces that increase job satisfaction and employee wellbeing, but what does it really mean to be an ‘ethical leader’? Ms. Rasha Alturki, Chairperson of Alturki Holding Ethics Committee, talks about creating shared values and leading by example:
Every decision we make as leaders, no matter how big or small, must pass an assessment process and be considered through the lens of the organization’s values, including the highest standards of ethical business practices. Reverting back to the organizations values system, however, is not enough. Every member of the team must live and work by the values.
What does that look like in practice? Well, at Alturki we have ongoing dialogues on the importance of being conscience about the value that everybody creates every day, not only to the company, but also to each other’s growth and wellbeing, to their families, their community and to their nation. We think holistically about ethics. There tends to be a focus on financial ethics when talking about ethical business practices, however financial ethics only reflect a larger picture of how employees’ value themselves, the company, its shareholders and the community in which it operates. We believe that for a company to achieve sustainable success and add real socio-economic value to the people it serves, there must be a strong foundation of shared values that engage, inspire and connect a team, as well as the mechanisms in place to communicate, monitor and ensure the continued adherence by all stakeholders to that values system.
At Alturki we have zero tolerance for unethical behavior, and as such we have embedded our values into the fabric of our corporate culture. We have created a workplace environment that is built on the underlying values of “PERFORM”: Passion, Excellence, Respect, Fun, Openness, Reliability and Meaning. Having this clearly defined values system and living and modelling these principles as leaders every day has provided the stable foundation on which Alturki is able to accelerate the sustainable growth of all of our businesses. From first interviews in pursuit of new team members to decisions on promotions and bonuses, we search for and reward evidence of ethical behavior.
However, in addition to building the foundation for ethical business practices to thrive, it is vital that leaders put into place the policies, procedures and structures that continue to nurture this shared value system. The Alturki Code of Conduct for example, provides a framework regarding ethical matters and is one tool that we use to clarify and communicate the standards and guidelines that all employees should follow in their daily business with customers, agents, vendors and business partners.
To create a company and corporate culture that abides by the highest ethical standards, there must be very clear repercussions outlined for those who do not adhere to the organization’s values system. Employees must be held accountable for their actions. Leaders must also create an environment where employees are encouraged and feel safe to report any ethical concerns. Alturki’s whistle blower policy structure encourages employees to shed light on any unethical behavior and defines the processes and procedures to ensure that any concern is investigated and dealt with accordingly and that the reporting employees are protected.
Ethical leadership and safeguarding the company’s values system is an ongoing commitment. We have established the Alturki Holding Ethics Committee as an essential mechanism designed to continuously protect the integrity of our companies’ values and performance. The Committee is responsible for addressing ethical issues, overseeing code of conduct compliance and investigating any possible ethics or code of conduct violations across Alturki Holding and its portfolio of subsidiaries.
It is important to note that being an ethical leader is not an eight to five job. It extends to life outside of the office and into the community. Employees who are consistently guided by a moral compass, can have a powerful and positive impact on their team members, their companies and their communities. We can change our world for the better, one ethical decision - and one organization - at a time, and here at Alturki, we strive to do just that.