This past week, the Ethics Club at the David Eccles School of Business hosted a virtual event for students, staff, and faculty, featuring Erica Cuttitta as she discussed how to find ethical companies. Here are three key takeaways from her presentation:
More than half of U.S. workers define their current company as having an ethical culture.
While that may seem like an encouraging number, that means that a good majority of workers within the United States believe that their company is unethical, yet still continue to work there. Even more frightening than that, about 25% of workers claimed they have seen unethical or illegal behaviors in their workplace within the last six months.
What may be “ethical” to you doesn’t necessarily match someone else’s definition.
Before you can look to see which companies you deem as ethical and a good workplace, you need to define what you believe an ethical workplace and company look like. Making a list of adjectives to describe your ideal company is a great place to start. For example, your list could look like: respect, honor, integrity, passion, and persistence.
Where you can look to find out if a company matches your Ethics
While the company’s mission statement may seem like the perfect place to start, it actually can be misleading. A good place to start if the company you are looking into is a for-profit public company would be their SEC 10-K Filing. Here are some sections to look for: Item 1: Business, Item 1A: Risk Factors, Item 1B: Unresolved SEC comments, Item 3: Legal Proceedings, and the Notes section at the bottom. Another good place to look is Employee Feedback websites like Glassdoor or Indeed, however, some companies incentivize their employees to give good ratings, so they may be somewhat biased.
You can watch the entire presentation below.