Before becoming one of Skanska’s Ethics Roadmap champions, I hadn’t a clue as to what it meant.
Even worse, whenever our company talked about achieving zero ethical breaches, I only associated a breach with illicit behaviors (actions landing you in jail). However, after spending time on the ethics task force, I realized that ethics is a powerful opportunity for everyone.
Since Skanska supports every employee to act in accordance with our core values, this foundation empowers every one of us to steer individual and corporate actions toward what makes ourselves and our organization most successful. Simply put, business ethics is the practice of how I conduct business in the best service of our culture and our values.
And what do we value? For me, it was important to see Skanska’s Five Zeroes not as values but as the result of living our values around safety, honesty and transparency.
For example, at Skanska we highly value human life and – most importantly – the quality of each life. This is the guiding force for our conduct as it relates to safety. This value empowers people at all levels to make better decisions that influence our job site actions.
Last month, Joe Davidson, the safety manager on one of our Seattle development projects, told me about actions he took relative to a trade partner that was using compromised high-pressure equipment. Joe advised this company’s foreman of the need to replace hoses and scaffolding equipment that were creating a potentially dangerous environment. The foreman replied, “Our company cares more about dollars than us.” Joe told the foreman he didn’t believe that, given the vocal commitments that company’s leaders made in support of safety. Joe took the issue to the trade contractor’s president, informing the executive of the amazing crew engaged on our job, noting their top-notch quality and high level of commitment. Joe then asked the executive if he knew what his employees thought of him.
The equipment was replaced immediately.
Joe creatively captured the attention of those able to make a change. Joe was empowered by Skanska’s strong Injury-Free Environment® culture and his own personal value of human life, and these drive him to conduct business in a powerful way.
When colleagues like Joe step up to do what’s right for safety, that’s evidence of a strong safety culture. Similarly, when people stand up and call attention to behaviors that violate our values or breach ethical standards of any sort, that’s how we honestly live our values and have the ethical culture we all seek.