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Why you should focus on integrity when hiring new employees

In our previous insight we explained how managers can work on creating a SpeakUp culture. However, no matter how much time and effort you invest in creating an amazing compliance programme, the influence this has on your company culture will not be optimal if your people do not follow their moral compass. That is why integrity should already be part of your recruitment and selection process.

During the recruitment and selection phase the focus often lies on experience and skill testing, but rarely on the moral compass/values of the applicant. This should clearly change and here’s a good example of how you could do that:

When the Australian government was looking for a new Foreign Affairs Officer their application procedure consisted of 5 steps. Next to interviews the applicant was given the same questionnaire in each round. Only applicants who were consistent in their answers made it to the final round. The reasoning behind this? As you get further along the application process it becomes tempting to portray yourself in a better light, because your eagerness and chances of getting the position increase. However, when your moral compass is in the lead, your answer to the question ‘I am a strong leader’ should be the same in every round.

Besides hiring people who already have this moral trait inherently, focus on educating. We strongly share Katrín Jakobsdóttir’s (Prime Minister of Iceland) opinion that integrity is a topic which should already be taught in primary school. However, there is currently a big generation of workers that weren’t, so as an employer you should educate them! At People Intouch we have a yearly ‘Integrity Week’ in which we discuss moral dilemmas that could happen in the workplace and how to deal with those. This engages people in the topic and makes it something to discuss over coffee.

So besides ensuring that you do the best you can to facilitate a SpeakUp culture, shift your focus from hiring the people from the best schools with the highest grades and most experience, to hiring people who live by their moral compass.

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