One thing history has always taught me is there are times humanity would collectively be at its lowest ebb. One of those events was the Covid 19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic, many nations experienced major economic shocks, some nations have partially recovered while some nations are still yet to.
This path to recovery is not restricted to countries alone. Even businesses suffered the brunt of the pandemic. However, as an organization irrespective of the socio-economic situation; owe stakeholders the need to remain ethical in your dealings with them. Some of these stakeholders are the customers, the shareholders and the employees of the organization.
To the customers, never has there been a period in history than now that dealing ethically makes or mar an organization. The rapid rise in the use of social media has made organizations more conscious of the brand they reflect. This is one of the reasons firms should resist the urge to adopt the “warfare paradigm” as a way to cope with the fallout of the pandemic by focusing on profit generation alone as a recovery tactic. It would be far better to embrace the “service paradigm” cause this is the best time firms can show their ethical values are not just paper values. Customers today are more emotionally intelligent and there is a growing trend among young people to patronize and associate with ethically compliant brands.
The shareholders have a right to get returns from their investment, the right to exercise control over their business and get access to reliable information about the operations of the business. Due to the pandemic organizations may get the urge to adjust the accounting figures in a light that doesn’t reflect the true state of the business. This action may mislead investors into thinking the business is doing too well despite the pandemic or too badly as a way to get out of paying dividends. That doesn’t mean a firm would toss ethics out the window because it should give shareholders a return however, this return must be “fair”.
To the lifeblood of every organization the employees, the pandemic didn’t spare them. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics 20% of full-time employees lost their job during the pandemic. This was due to the dire situations most firms found themselves in. Even though a firm is in financial distress the following ideas should serve as a basis for interaction with employees. 1. Each employee must be treated with respect and concern because of the value and dignity of that individual. 2. Each firm must discharge its responsibility in good faith as stated in terms of the agreement entered with all employees. 3. Firms must be treated with fairness and equity as they are members of a human community. As the rules that apply to one should apply to all to help prevent feelings of resentment and partiality. 4. Organizations should be committed to the employees personal and professional fulfillment as the employees are committed to the fulfilment of the organization. 5. Last but not the least if an employee must be relieved of their job, it has to be done in the most humane way possible. That way you show employees you still care about their intrinsic value.