Rob is Head of Ethics at Airbnb and author of the book “Intentional Integrity”. His role as head of an ethics team is to implement a code of conduct that encourages integrity, is aligned with brand values and help employees navigate the complex world of ethical dilemmas.
Rob explains that a company with integrity must start with the leadership: the CEO needs to say upfront what the brand does and doesn’t do. The leader must also create their own code of ethics and involve employees in the process: what do they think is important? How can we make our values as clear as possible? What are the main ethical dilemmas? A company that takes ethics seriously is more likely to attract ethical business and therefore have ethical stakeholders.
Ethics is at the core of how Airbnb operates. Every team has their own Ethics advisor; this is someone on the team that takes part in a one-day ethics training every year and is the person employees can turn to in order to answer complex ethical questions. Airbnb also publishes ethics videos every month on how to work with integrity. Through their own code of conduct, Airbnb has addressed several issues such as not accepting gifts over $200 and not allowing romantic relationships within the workplace. As Rob says, there is nothing like a crisis to highlight the importance of integrity; companies with ethics at its core are more likely to stand out and even thrive through a crisis.
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