Ethics at Work Index: 81.0
According to Irish employees, organisations have responded well from an ethical standpoint to the Covid-19 pandemic. Compared to three years ago, Irish employees are also less likely to have been aware of misconduct at work.
An issue of concern seems to be the engagement with employees on the ethics programme. The belief that “it was none of my business”, for instance, is still one of the most prominent reasons why employees do not speak up about misconduct they have been aware of. Discussing issues of right and wrong in staff meetings is also not as common as in other countries. Looking ahead, loss of interpersonal interactions due to the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown is the issue that Irish employees are more likely to be concerned about.
- In 2021, 86% of Irish employees say that honesty is practised always or frequently in their organisation, which is in line with the global average (86%). In 2018, 88% of them said so.
- The percentage of employees who have felt pressured to compromise their organisation’s standards of behaviour has increased slightly in Ireland compared to 2018 (13% vs 11%). The main source of pressure for Irish employees comes from the need to follow their boss’s orders (46%), followed by time pressure/unrealistic deadlines (34%).
- Employees in Ireland are less likely to say that they have been aware of misconduct at work compared to 2018 (16% vs 28%). The global average is 18%.
- In Ireland, 57% of employees that have been aware of misconduct at work have spoken up about it with management, another appropriate person, or through any other mechanism. In 2018, this percentage was 55%.
- The main reasons why employees do not raise their concerns are that they felt they might jeopardise their job and that it was none of their business (both at 28%).
- 52% of employees in Ireland say that they have experienced retaliation after they raised concerns about misconduct (52%). This makes Ireland one of the countries where employees are more likely to experience retaliation after speaking up, together with France (60%) and Australia (53%).
- Irish employees who have spoken up about the misconduct they have been aware of are notably more likely than in 2018 to be satisfied with the outcome (58% vs 40%).
The ethics programme
- Employees in Ireland are more likely than average to say that they are aware of each of the four building blocks of an ethics programme considered. Written standards of ethical business conduct are the most common and 75% of respondents are aware of this, which is 1 pp higher than in 2018.
- Compared to 2018, Irish employees are more likely to be aware of each of the four building blocks considered. The biggest increase has been recorded with reference to the provision of a means of ethics training (60% vs 51%).
Embedding ethics through a supportive environment
- In Ireland, 72% of employees say that their line manager sets a good example of ethical business behaviour, 60% say that their line manager explains the importance of honesty and ethics in the work they do, and 68% say that their line manager supports them in following their organisation’s standards of ethical behaviour. 68% say that senior management takes ethics seriously in their organisation, while 31% of Irish employees also say that their line manager rewards employees who get good results, even if they use practices that are ethically questionable.
- 78% of Irish employees say that their organisation acts responsibly in all its business dealings and 71% that it lives up to its stated policy of social responsibility.
- 82% say that people in their organisation know what is expected of them in terms of ethical behaviour, 66% say that in their organisation decisions about people are made fairly, and only 56% say that issues of right and wrong are discussed in staff meetings.
- 62% say that their organisation disciplines employees who violate its ethical standards. The global average is 63%.
Current and future issues
- 46% of employees in Ireland say that, considering their organisation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, their opinion on how ethically their organisation behaves has improved. This figure is significantly higher than the global average (37%) and among the highest among all the countries surveyed, after South Africa (65%). Only 7% say that it has worsened, while 45% say that it has stayed the same.
- With regards to the future of the workplace, loss of interpersonal interactions due to the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown is the issue that Irish employees are more likely to be concerned about (49%), followed by increased surveillance and monitoring in the workplace (41%).