Philips wanted an internal campaign to communicate its ethical guidelines to its 120,000 employees around the world. Behaving responsibly is high on their business agenda, and it’s crucial to their long-term success. Which is why they wanted to launch their renewed General Business Principles to all employees. As part of this campaign, Philips also wanted to launch a new Ethics Reporting Line to employees worldwide. The aim of this Ethics Line is to (anonymously) report potential violations of their general business principles.
Ethical misconduct can be clear, but it’s often unclear, and hard to spot. Do employees actually know, just feel, or suspect something is ethically wrong? When they do know, employees often feel as though they are reporting on colleagues and have their own ethical dilemmas about this. Of course, it depends on the seriousness of the ethical misconduct. This includes things like corruption or bribery, abuse of power, sexual harassment, misuse of company assets or safety issues. These are often hard to spot.
People who work for Philips know that it’s a global brand that people trust. One of the major reasons for this trust is that Philips behaves ethically. So if employees see something that they think goes against the ethical behaviour of Philips, would they keep silent about it? Or speak up? This dilemma became the insight for the work that we eventually produced.
We wanted to provide a conversational dialogue with employees to help them think about what it means to do business with integrity. When they have witnessed or suspect something unethical has taken place, we wanted them to feel that it’s OK to come forward, even when they are unsure. And also to spend 5 minutes each year to remind themselves about the core general business principles of Philips.
As most of the internal communication media was posters hung around the offices and factories, together with video walls, and narrowcasting, we were acutely aware that the message had to be engaging, relevant, and above all, communicate quickly.