Posted: April 16, 2014, 1:33 p.m.
by Shannon Auvil.
MWW, a public relations firm headquartered in New York City, was recently named the Agency of Record for the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research that promotes best practices in corporate ethics. The Ethisphere Institute is known for its annual World’s Most Ethical Companies list.
As AOR, MWW will aim to “broaden visibility of the value created by companies who embed and embrace ethical policies and practices throughout their organization.”
“Our support of the 2014 WME release showcased MWW’s ability to secure strategic media results for Ethisphere, with placements appearing in over 60 targeted national, regional, trade and international outlets,” David Herrick, MWW’s chief operating officer, said. “Coverage of the announcement helped to increase awareness of ethical best practices and honor those companies who are committed to this cause.”
Herrick said maintaining a corporate culture built on core values, such as having sound ethics and transparency, drive the firm’s performance.
“Our mantra is to “Matter More,” and to do so you need to build trust and maintain integrity in everything you do every day by every employee, globally,” Herrick said. “We’re in the reputation business, which makes our reputation a key driver of success in attracting and retaining great clients and the best talent.”
MWW offers mandatory annual compliance training for business and professional ethics and appropriate workplace behavior. One of the training programs, titled “Professional Boundaries,” trains junior and senior staff alike about client interaction and what’s acceptable versus not.
Through Good Matters, a comprehensive company-wide CSR program, Herrick said MWW employees are public servants who walk the talk.
“We are proud of our collective efforts that have defined MWW’s commitment to corporate citizenship, whether it be for our environment, community, employees, or our clients,” Herrick said. “Along with doing our part to protect the planet, Good Matters enables employees to support local charities and other causes that are close to their hearts.”
Each year, team members can take advantage of eight hours of paid time to volunteer for an organization of their choice. MWW runs company activities throughout the year and encourages employees to participate.
Mike Byrne, senior vice president of thought leadership and general counsel at Ethisphere, believes ethical practices are becoming easier to establish and enforce. Byrne said that by leading their industries in compliance, corporate governance and social responsibility, the World’s Most Ethical Companies effectively align ethical business practices with performance and shape future industry ethical business standards.
WME companies are selected based on five categories: ethics and compliance program; reputation, leadership and innovation; governance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; and culture of ethics. This year, Ethisphere honored 144 companies, including Gap Inc., Dell Inc., Kellogg Company and 38 international companies.
“More and more companies are realizing the importance of establishing robust compliance and ethics programs – and the potential business advantages to be found by doing so,” Byrne said.
Byrne listed three main reasons that ethical practices are easier to keep up with.
First, the regulatory environment has become a lot scarier.
“Regulators are becoming ever more aggressive in enforcing laws, are using new tactics and strategies to catch and prosecute wrongdoing, and the penalties for wrongdoing are increasing,” Byrne said.
Second, a company’s brand and reputation are more important than ever. A good reputation draws consumers and helps a company attract and retain talented employees, and drives business. Byrne pointed out that this is especially true as products and services become increasingly commoditized, and a company’s brand is the differentiator.
“With the spread of social media and the ever-increasing availability of information, companies realize that if they act unethically, they are more likely to get caught and suffer reputation damage to their brand than ever before,” Byrne said.
Byrne said companies are realizing the truth will come out, so it is crucial to create a culture where the company strives to do the right thing.
Finally, employees understand the importance of acting ethically.
“After the corporate scandals we’ve recently lived through, it seems that employees are more and more focused on acting ethically,” Byrne said. “If employees know they have support at the highest levels of a company to do the right thing, they will more often than not do it.”