In this guest post, Hotwire Australia managing director Mylan Vu discusses the three signs good financials have gotten in the way of ethical business.
Following the Banking Royal Commission, ethical business decisions are more at the forefront of Australians’ minds than ever. While most professionals are aware ‘cut-throat decisions’ and ‘tough calls’ often have to be made to drive profitability, there is a fine line between that and developing an unethical business.
Past and present entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg are renowned for toeing this line every day, pushing their teams to the limit and then pushing further in the name of ‘changing the world’. Yet, many argue this in itself is going too far, and encouraging unhealthy workplace culture or mindsets leads to unhealthy staff, causing its own societal and behavioural challenges for the workforce.
So, how far is too far?
We’ll see just what lines are drawn by the banks and the government over the next few months following the Royal Commission, but here are three clear boundaries that should never be crossed regardless of your industry or state of business.
- The personal taking over the professional
Today’s workforce is increasingly encouraged to bring our whole selves to work, meaning we should start being more transparent about our stress levels, more open about what motivates us in our personal lives, and more embracing of work-life balance. However, the risk comes when personal decisions, opinions and motivators take precedent over those of the team or business.
For example, a CEO who loves hip hop may think that blasting it from 7am in the office is the best way to drive creativity and calm in the office. Whereas, for teams that thrive in quiet workplaces or who dislike hip hop, this exact environment could have the opposite anticipated impact – instead creating agitation and stress in the workplace. It may seem small, but it’s these types of actions that often lead employees to feel their boss’s personal interests are being prioritised over what’s right for the business as a whole.
More everyday examples include leaders hiring based on people they know on a personal level, but not professionally; or running team events based on personal interests rather than genuine team building outcomes.
When personal motivations significantly supersede the importance of business results, the vision, mission and values of a business become almost impossible to rally around.
- The team only associates the brand with money
Making money is of course what businesses are built to do, and there is barely a scenario where revenue and profitability should not be factored into a major business decision or strategy. Having said that, if this is the only metric by which success is measured within a business and the only association employees have with their employer, there’s something very wrong.
It’s important to be transparent about the numbers and the overall operations of the business. And it’s just as important to talk about team culture, the company’s reputation, training, client relationships, and the business’ contribution to the broader community. When someone asks an employee what they’re working on, it should be a mix of these things, all of which at some point are tied to driving revenue without revenue being the sole reason for their actions.
A company’s employees are its biggest advocates, and if you’re not a sales agency, they shouldn’t be out associating the brand primarily with money-making.
- What makes the business special has just been automated
Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies are advancing rapidly, changing every industry. They’re transforming often administrative or repetitive jobs with machines that can complete the task faster, while improving outcomes over time.
The biggest challenges with AI and automation technologies comes with ethics and the human element of running the technology. Across all businesses, young and old, often what makes a business ‘tick’ and what brings it unique flare is its people. Would Uber be as special without the renowned service of its drivers? Would movies be as entertaining without the creativity of their scriptwriters? Would restaurants be as enjoyable without the smiles of their waiters and baristas? Probably not.
And yet, each of these aspects that make these businesses what they are today are likely to be automated within the next decade at a global scale. In media, we’re increasingly seeing journalists’ jobs being exchanged, despite most Australians seeing ethical issues with stories prepared by robots. It’s agreed by most in the industry this is detrimental to journalism, information sharing, and knowledge generation overall – replacing the human elements of an entire industry is possibly the clearest form of prioritising short-term financials over ethical practices.
The savviest business leaders will find a way to leverage the latest technologies to drive value for customers, without losing the most valuable part of their business and what makes them truly special – their people.
Today, Integral Ad Science (IAS), a global leader in digital ad verification, released its Media Quality Report (MQR) for H2 2020, providing transparency into the performance and quality of Australian digital media, alongside global comparisons. Integral Ad Science’s H2 2020 MQR highlights brand safety, ad fraud, and viewability trends across display, video, mobile web, and […]
Quintis Sandalwood has appointed Illuminate as its global PR partner following a competitive pitch process. Proudly Australian, Quintis produces and markets Indian Sandalwood oil, logs, chips and powder products across the world to major companies in industries such as fragrance, aromatherapy, cosmetics, handicrafts and Traditional Chinese Medicine industries. Illuminate will be responsible for a global communications […]
Hopefully the weekend has given everyone enough time to recover from B&T’s 30 Under 30 awards and prepare themselves for our official photo dump! We shared some of the highlights last week, and now you can peruse all of the pictures taken on the night. Thank you to everyone for attending this year’s awards, and […]
Kinderling Kids Radio (Kinderling) has announced the completion of its move from DAB+, where it launched six years ago, to a direct-to-consumer streaming model, accessible online or through the Kinderling Kids iOS and Android app. The Parent Brand, the parent company of Kinderling Kids and Babyology, made the decision to shift as streaming and on-demand […]
Most people over 60 stay on top of their health with regular check-ups. Whether it’s eyes, prostate or breasts, they realise at their age it’s important. But one that gets ignored is hearing. They’d rather live with gradual hearing loss, and continually ask what, huh, pardon or sorry until it seriously impacts their life and […]
Creative communications agency Connecting Plots has been appointed by Casella Family Brands to handle the social media accounts for [yellow tail] wine in Australia. The win follows an audit of the Casella Family Brands social activities, which led to [yellow tail] rethinking its approach to social media and how it aligns with its overall marketing […]
v2food, has appointed HERO’s B.B.E as the lead strategic and creative agency for the brand following a competitive pitch process. v2food is an Australian pioneering food technology business with a global vision to feed the planet sustainably. After launching nationally in 2019, v2food has been on a mission to offer Australians an easy alternative to meat […]
Magnite (Nasdaq: MGNI), the largest independent sell-side advertising platform, today announced it has been working with Adform, the only independent global ad management platform covering all aspects of the digital campaign lifecycle, to scale first party identifiers in privacy-safe ways. With the pending elimination of third-party cookies, the industry must establish future-proof identity solutions for publishers and buyers.
The Commercial Producers Council is delighted to announce the appointment of Martin Box (pictured) as its new Co-Chair, effective immediately. Box, Head of Production at Airbag, joins Co-Chair Pip Smart, and fills the vacancy left by Lucas Jenner who steps aside from the Co-Chair role after four years of service, in accordance with the CPC’s […]