Defining Company Values and Ethics

I work at a small, flexible company. We have a fairly open work environment. Flex time, Frisbee out back and ping-pong next to my desk are all characteristics that help define the company to our customers and to ourselves. “We are a fun company.” and “We want our employees to hang out and enjoy each other.” are phrases commonly heard when clients are given a tour of our facilities. I have always appreciated the option to leave early or break and play some pong, but I believe there are deeper values and ethical-based shortcomings that always seem to overwhelm the “fun candy-coated shell.”

When we are soliciting clients we tell them about our “fun place” and how amazing the development process is. We outline deliverables they should expect and the high quality of those deliverables. Unfortunately, the employees (the people in the trenches) have a common perception that we frequently fall short on our promises to the client. Furthermore, the client usually uncovers them and returns with “but you told me you would…” The level of this failure is compounded due to the personal relationships formed between the employee and customer.

Personally this is extremely disturbing to me. I feel that I am often not living up to my standards and values. I also believe that the company’s false advertisement is a basic ethical violation that needs to be addressed.

So basically, talk is cheap! We can tell the client anything we want, but the lack of internal communication and follow-through with company values and ethics will continue to result in unhappy customers. The company I work for is capable of creating some of the neatest things out there, but for continued growth and success in the future, clear company values and ethics must be defined and communicated to the employees.


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