by Pete Ferguson
I have two scenarios of ethics for you to consider:
- You run a warehouse business. To save on rent, you are five miles from the freeway and the closest restaurants. You have no on-site catering, you pay minimum wage, you require your employees to go through metal detectors before and after they come to work. You often require them to work overtime. They get two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute lunch which starts before they exit the metal detectors. You are seeing regular shrinkage (theft) in your other client food products.
- In southern India, the average housekeeper makes the equivalent of $150 -$200 USD a month to barely scrape buy. They are literally a third-class citizen and not acknowledged by most people as a human let alone as individuals. They have probably never even been thanked. A company iPhone comes up missing.
In both of these scenarios, who’s fault is the crime?
The usual security industry approach would be to install hidden cameras, catch the culprit, fire them publicly to “send a message” – right?
Unfortunately the message has already been sent in both cases – “we don’t think much of you” – and justice must be doled out amongst the population through trying to “settle score.”
In scenario #1, what if the solution was to provide more onsite food options, and provide free meals when overtime is required? Add in public recognition for those who volunteer for the OT. Instead of having 50% turnover in a year, pay $1-2 more an hour.
In scenario #2, is it really morally wrong? I had to ask myself this question often. In the person’s mind, it is not a matter of stealing to take away from another. The perception is that if you have a good corporate job, you have a future. Whereas if you are a cleaning staff, you have no chance for education – for you or for your children. By leaving the iPhone out, it is like leaving a pot of hot and fresh food in a famine stricken land.
Providing a bit more pay, opportunities for English lessons and basic education opportunities levels the playing field.
Please debate me, tell me I’m wrong and why.
Your employees are cheating you usually because you have been cheating them. Your desire to get gain at their cost (lower wages and no ownership in the company) is going to be equaled out one way or another. We have seen this through thousands of years of history in government and worker’s unions. Now we see it over several hundred years of industry.
A job is not just money, it must be an opportunity for a person to better themselves while bettering your business. Pay is important the first two weeks of a job. Then it becomes an expectation.
It’s the opportunities and appreciation you provide to your staff that make up the difference in long run.
Let us never fear robbers nor murderers. Those are dangers from without, petty dangers. Let us fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices are the real murderers. The great dangers lie within ourselves. What matters it what threatens our head or our purse! Let us think only of that which threatens our soul. ~ Les Miserables