Ignoring soft skills may be costly

In a recent newsletter ethicist Christopher Bauer discusses why "soft skills" training is important and why ignoring it might cost businesses.

Institute for Excellence and Ethics blog shares tips for educators

Dr. Matt Davidson's blog highlights insights on creating intentional cultures of excellence in our schools, businesses and teams.

The Six Best Telephone Calls I Make Each Year

As coordinator of our BBB’s Student of Integrity Scholarship Program, I’ve had the privilege of working with many inspiring high school seniors over the past few years. Our scholarship program is designed to get the student’s viewpoints on ethical business practices in the marketplace. We accomplish this by asking that the essay they are required to submit be written on a topic based on BBB’s Values which include Excellence, Integrity, Teamwork, Trust and Respect.

Start With Trust Begins With Us

In early 2012, our BBB was fortunate to have been invited to become a part of the Center of Character Ethics. Our Foundation was established over 30 years ago and has been most active in the last 10 years in promoting trust in the marketplace through consumer education and recognition for ethical behavior at the business and future workforce levels.

Metro Atlanta, Athens & Northeast Georgia
Current Workforce Programs

BBB Center for Character Ethics' current workforce programming has been designed to increase marketplace trust by providing practical character ethics and ethical habits training for leaders serving our current workforce.

Recognition Programs
BBB Torch Awards for Ethics

The BBB Torch Awards for Ethics, a national award-winning “educate & recognize” program, is the premier public recognition of organizations that intentionally pursue the six TRUST! Principles of EthicalEnterprising. BBB Business Ethics Awards alumni benefit from ongoing program support and partner with the BBB to showcase and share their organization’s best practices on the web to inspire others to join the quest for optimal enterprising.


Torch Award Criteria:
Eligibility and Award Categories:

The Torch Award is open to all for-profit and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations physically located within BBB’s 21 county service area. Non-profit organizations must complete the BBB Charitable Standards Evaluation process, and currently meet all BBB Standards for Charitable Accountability.
Companies entering the 2014 Torch Award competition will be judged in one of four categories based on the number of employees:
•Companies with over 175 employees
•Companies with 51 - 175 employees
•Companies with 11 - 50 employees
•Companies with 1 - 10 employees
A company is not eligible if any of the following conditions apply:
•They have been in business less than 3 years
•They have earned less than a “B” rating from BBB
•There are indications they have not met their financial obligations
•They have been the recipient of the Torch Award in the past five years
The Judging Process:
Entries are evaluated by an independent panel of judges comprised of volunteer business and community leaders, based on criteria established by the BBB Center for Character Ethics advisory committee.
Submission Requirements:
We understand that each company is unique and has different needs, experiences and policies. It is not necessary to address all of the suggested content in each of the six sections, they are merely provided as illustrations of possible content to demonstrate that criteria. We encourage you to find areas in each section that best exemplify your company’s practices
(Submission Criteria is based on the Center for Character Ethics Ethical Enterprising Framework)

  •  Submit entry form and supporting documents in a simple ring binder
  •  Provide four additional unbound copies (no sleeves or staples) separate from the binder
  •  Include company name on the cover and spine of the binder
  •  Complete official entry form and include in front of tab 1 in the binder
  •  Organize information into six sections (one for each criteria)
  •  For each criteria provide a narrative summary that addresses the content or questions asked
  •  Include any supporting documents ( examples of policies, employee manuals,   communications, etc.) in a "supporting" document section in the back
  •  Include evidence of financial integrity such as a current credit report or a Dunn & Bradstreet report
  •  Provide three references from one of each: customer, vendor, and community partner

Criteria 1: Leadership Commitment to Ethical Practices

Include a letter from the CEO/President or Owner that includes a personal statement of their commitment to ethical business practices.
Suggestions for content:
•A statement of the leader’s personal code of ethics
•Participation in workshops/conferences or training in ethics
•Examples of ethical challenges faced and how they were resolved
•Examples of any public statement (speech, advertising, or publication) of the leader’s commitment to ethics.
Criteria 2: Communications of Ethical Practices
Describe how your organization uses internal and external communication and/or activities that help your organization intentionally build and maintain an ethical culture and practice.
Suggestions for content:
•How new employees are informed and/or trained in the company’s ethical policies
•How the CEO/President/owner’s personal code of ethics is communicated to employees
•Tools or activities that model, mentor, teach and reinforce defined character ethics as part of management communications
•Using a character code or content with staff meetings
•Vendor relations manuals, customer policies and stakeholder relations procedures (narrative description only)
Provide full reference documents in supporting documents sect
Criteria 3: Organizational Commitment to Ethical Practice
Describe how your organization’s vision/mission statement is put into practice.
Provide if desired, copies of any organizational statements such as “Vision”, “Mission”, “Core”, “Business Values”, or “Purpose” in the supporting document section with pertinent section highlighted.
Suggestions for content:
• A description of how these statements are shared with existing and potential employees
• Measurements your organization routinely uses to gauge progress or adherence of vision and mission
• Description of how you solicit feedback collected from the marketplace and staff and how you use this information to make adjustments to your organization’s practices to better match the vision/mission
• Description of the business’ greatest ethical challenge and how it was addressed and communicated
Criteria 4: Organizational Commitment to Performance Management Practices
Describe how your organization implements the best management practices and encourages employees to pursue and develop expertise in their areas of responsibility.
Suggestions for content:
• Establishment of annual goals and targets for the organization
• Clear measurements to evaluate progress toward each goal
• Establishment of department or individual objectives or targets
• Practices using performance information to encourage, guide and motivate
• Accountability and compensation systems for high performance
Criteria 5: Organizational Commitment to Ethical Human Resource Practices
Describe how your human resource practices prepare, support, recognize and provide opportunities for growth in both competency and ethical behavior for staff members.
Suggestions for content:
• Hiring practices that insure people are hired for character and that systems and processes for training and preparing staff are adequate
• Description of practices and procedures to resolve ethical issues
• Organizational disciplinary practices for low character and low competency behaviors•
Descriptions of how ethical behaviors of employees are identified and recognized
•Description of policies and procedures to insure employees are treated fairly and respectfully and that workplace safety is ensured.
• Mechanisms or procedures for employee professional development, termination practices and your employee turnover rates.
Criteria 6: Organizational Commitment to the Community
Describe your company’s community support and service activities within your industry and community.
Suggestions for content:
• Participation in industry organizations and their activities to promote best practices.
•Description of how employees are encouraged to and recognized for spending time in community service that the organization values.
• Description of any contribution of funds, or in-kind services to community programs that is consistent with the organization’s values and character
• Description of how the company’s advertising, operations, risk management, governance, and regulatory compliance behaviors are assessed against proven standards
• Proof of achievement with any industry benchmarks for high standards of business excellence.


Research, Resources and Training
BBB EthicalEnterprising Speaker Bureau

The BBB Center for Character Ethics has brought together some of the most highly qualified and inspiring current workforce and future workforce ethics experts who have agreed to provide memorable remarks and keynotes to area service organizations and other leadership venues at no charge to qualified groups.

 BBB provides speakers at no cost to the public to speak on matters of trust in the marketplace. We also provide educational information to avoid scams and frauds catered to any age group. BBB is currently providing presentations regarding investment fraud. We work with educators to provide students of all ages information that will help them to become more informed when making a buying or giving decision. 

For more information on BBB EthicalEnterprising Speaker Bureau

BBB EthicalEnterprising Survey Assessment ℠

This employee survey is designed and field-tested for participants to measure their organization’s ethical culture. The EthicalEnterprising Survey Assessment is available for leaders to benchmark and assess their progress leveraging the BBB Center for Character Ethics’ tools.

For more information about the EthicalEnterprising Survey Assessment

BBB EthicalEnterprising Workshops

The EthicalEnterprising Workshops are tutorials that orient organizational leaders to the UncommonSense and EthicalEnterprising frameworks. Participants are coached and encouraged to create an intentional culture at work that improves the culture and readies the organization to qualify as a candidate for the BBB Torch Award.

For more information about BBB EthicalEnterprising Workshops

BBB Center for Character Ethics - Metro Atlanta, Athens & Northeast Georgia:

503 Oak Place #590
Atlanta, Georgia 30349
ph: 404.766.0875

Explore the Current Workforce Programs of local BBB Centers for Character Ethics:
12521 Kanis Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72211
Central Ohio
1169 Dublin Road
Columbus, OH 43215
Greater Arizona
4428 North 12th Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85014-4585
Metro Atlanta, Athens & Northeast Georgia
503 Oak Place #590
Atlanta, Georgia 30349
Minnesota and North Dakota
220 South River Ridge Circle
Burnsville, Minnesota 55337
North Alabama
210 Exchange Place, Suite A
Huntsville, Alabama 35806
Northern Colorado and Wyoming
8020 S. County Road 5, #100
Fort Collins, Colorado 80528
Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan
7668 Kings Pointe Road Integrity Place
Toledo, Ohio 43617
Snake River Region
P. O. Box 9817
Boise, Idaho 83707
152 South Jefferson, Suite 200
Spokane, Washington 99201
Western Michigan
2627 East Beltline SE, Suite 320
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546
10019 West Greenfield Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53214
25 Market Street, P.O. Box 1495
Youngstown, Ohio 44501

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