Ethisphere®, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, unveiled the latest volume of its 2023 Ethical Culture Insights Report earlier this month. Ethisphere is an operating company within predictis, Alpine Investors’ data software business platform. The report derives insights produced from Ethisphere’s proprietary Ethical Culture Quotient (CQ) data set, which studies the elements of ethical culture, such as whether employees will report any ethical wrongdoings within their organization.
Data for this report was collected from an Ethisphere survey of over two million global employees from Ethisphere’s client base between 2016 through the end of Q3 2022. The 54-question survey focused on reporting behavior and how the behavior reflected certain realities around organizational speak-up culture.
Key Findings from the Report:
- Ethical culture within businesses increased across the board – Based on Ethisphere’s Eight Pillars of an Ethical Culture, respondents showed more favorable perceptions of their company’s ethical culture during the pandemic. Like all businesses, respondents faced greater turmoil during the last few years. But even amid such trying conditions, the culture of ethics they had in place before COVID-19 grew even stronger – helping to reduce risk, retain talent, and build value within their organizations. However, during the pandemic, although people became more willing to report misconduct and observed more of it, they tended to report it less.
- Claims of bullying increased significantly – In stark contrast to the other 26 types of reported misconduct, Ethisphere’s report found that bullying jumped a shocking 13 percent during the past few years. The report highlights several possible explanations for this significant increase, including the increasing presence of Gen Z employees, who as an age cohort report high levels of workplace bullying, as well as high levels of bullying in general. This increase also correlates with an increase in bullying during the pandemic, especially as people spent more time on-screen.
- Gen Z employees are least likely to report misconduct – While Gen Z represents a smaller portion of the data set from this research, it is interesting to note they are the least likely age group to report bad behavior. When compared to their Millennial, Gen X, and Boomer colleagues, 56 percent of Gen Z employees stated that they did not report misconduct when they saw it because they didn’t believe corrective action would be taken, followed by 47 percent who feared retaliation.
- Managers matter – More than half of respondents (56 percent) named their immediate manager as the avenue by which they reported misconduct, which aligns with prior Ethisphere cultural reports for being the most common method of reporting misconduct. This underscores the importance of businesses preparing their managers to facilitate discussions around raising concerns and proactively set corporate-wide expectations around what reporting, investigations, and actions will entail.
To read the full report, please visit Ethisphere’s website.