February 10th, 2021

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We often tell kids that honesty is the best policy, and that philosophy holds true when it comes to the workplace, too. But hiring for honesty and integrity can be a challenge in the midst of a pandemic, when the process has shifted from meeting in person to holding virtual interviews.

Here's how to make sure you're hiring the right people, and why integrity and honesty at work are still two of the most important values for a great workplace.

Honesty and integrity in the modern workplace

For the modern enterprise, honesty is a broader concept than the simple expectation that everyone should tell the truth. Honesty is a cultural paradigm that includes trust, integrity, ethics, and so much more.

How do you tell when candidates are being honest and authentic? That's a challenge even in normal circumstances, but it's even more difficult today.

It's not about rules, it's about trust

Some companies try to grind honesty into the culture through granular policies that dictate — in letter-of-the-law fashion — what can or can't be done. While having clearly defined policies sets clear expectations, it can sometimes inadvertently send the wrong message: "We don't trust you."

When distrust is present, you may be encouraging employees to do only what is absolutely necessary, leading to further micromanagement that only reinforces a lack of trust.

That's why "act with integrity" is a core value for our company. It might sound simple, but it's an approach that really covers the spirit of honesty and trust for each individual and throughout the workplace as a whole.

Transparency starts from the top

The expectation of honesty at work means you have to be clear and open with everyone. When you are, it demonstrates trust and creates an environment of transparency — another vital element in all great organizations.

We believe in the value of openness and honesty in the workplace and we want everyone to feel trusted, especially by our leadership. When you have an environment where everyone feels trusted, it strengthens the whole organization.

Placing trust as the foundation of the business feeds entrepreneurship and gives your employees the confidence they need to do their jobs and explore their creative ideas without fear of failure, retaliation, or retribution. Creating that environment ultimately comes down to a decision by management to hire smartly, trust employees to do their jobs, and then foster a culture of honesty in the workplace from the top down. Encourage all employees to be authentic and candid, and facilitate an environment that supports this.

Hiring for honesty and integrity

It's a tough and competitive job market right now. Understandably, some applicants might be more concerned with landing the job than with being transparent about what they're looking for and how well they fit the role. However, misleading or withholding information hurts everyone involved in the hiring process. Hiring the wrong person for the job is a costly mistake, yet it's one that up to 95% of companies admit to making.

Here are a few ways to make sure you recruit the right candidates.

Encourage authenticity from the start

Let's be honest: First impressions make a big impact.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most teams have switched to conducting interviews over the phone or via video conferencing tools. But as workplaces begin to reopen, a visitor management system can help candidates feel safe as you shift back to interviewing in person.

In hiring interviews, focus on determining if candidates are passionate about what they do and if they are being direct about their goals, values, and expectations. Asking the right questions, such as open-ended "what if" scenarios, will help you determine whether or not the candidate will be a good fit for your organization. Encourage them to explain how they have acted or how they would behave in certain situations that are likely to occur within your organization, such as prioritizing during tight deadlines.

Honesty in the workplace goes both ways. Make sure to be authentic and candid when you conduct the interviews, as well. Have a clear discussion about the job requirements and be open about what your company is looking for. Know what employees and candidates need to feel safe in the workplace, and discuss what steps your organization is taking to address the pandemic.

Mutual communication based on honesty and integrity fosters feedback and openness, which lets candidates get a sense of your company culture and values.

Attract and retain honest employees

Top candidates want to know if they'll be happy working at your company. To attract and retain talent, use the interview as an opportunity to articulate company values, goals, and accomplishments. A visitor management solution, for example, communicates a commitment to health, wellbeing, and safety.

The future of your workplace

To thrive in the post-pandemic workplace, your company has several decisions to make. Identifying and hiring the right employees is just the start. Once you have the talent in place, there's more work to do to keep encouraging honesty and integrity. From the second people walk into your front office to the end of the interview, they'll be evaluating your company and looking for a fit.

Valuing honesty and integrity in the workplace creates an environment that encourages people to push the bar higher in terms of what they can accomplish. One way workplace leaders can keep the momentum going is to consider how to keep the workplace safe, employees productive, and their experiences positive. 

If you're looking for the best way forward,  request a live demo and see how Teem can help your visitor management and make sure you create exceptional experiences for current and future employees.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been revised with fresh information and insights.

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