What Is Integrity—Really?
Honesty and Trust Are Integral to Integrity as These Examples Demonstrate
Integrity is one of the fundamental values that employers seek in the employees that they hire. It is the hallmark of a person who demonstrates sound moral and ethical principles at work. Integrity is the foundation on which coworkers build relationships, trust, and effective interpersonal relationships. Any definition of integrity will emphasize these factors.
A person who has integrity lives his or her values in relationships with coworkers, customers, and stakeholders.
Honesty and trust are central to integrity. Acting with honor and truthfulness are also basic tenets in a person with integrity.
People who demonstrate integrity draw others to them because they are trustworthy and dependable. They are principled and you can count on them to behave in honorable ways even when no one is watching or even knows about their performance.
Examples of Integrity in Action
Integrity is another fundamental value that you recognize when you see it in the behavior of a coworker. But, it’s hard to describe adequately to provide a picture that produces shared meaning. So, the following are examples of integrity as it plays out—or should play out—every single day in the workplace.
1. The CEO of the company kept the employees up-to-date on the struggles the business was experiencing with clear and frequent communication at team meetings. Employees felt as if they knew exactly what was happening.
They were not blindsided by the CEO’s request that they all take a 10 percent pay cut so that the company could avoid layoffs or furloughs for the time being. The employees also felt confident in the turnaround plan they were following as they had helped develop it and they trusted their CEO.
2 John was a developer who had taken a path, that was not working out, to optimize the process the code was supposed to create.
Rather than patching together a solution that was not optimum, but that would allow him to save his work, he went to his team. He explained the dead ends he had run into and that he thought that they could create problems for the continual development of advanced features for the software product in the future.
The team discussed and worked through the problem. John scrapped all of his code and started from scratch with the team’s input. His new solution gave the team the ability to expand the product’s capabilities easily in the future.
3. Barbara went to the women’s restroom and used up the last bit of toilet paper in her stall. Rather than leave the dispenser empty for the next employee, she tracked down the location of the toilet paper and replaced the empty roll. Sure, it took her five minutes, but she didn’t leave the next employee in a bind.
4. Ellen missed a deadline for an important deliverable her team was supposed to have developed. Rather than throwing her team members under the bus, even though they hadn’t delivered as promised, she took responsibility for the missed deadline. She addressed the problems with her team and they put in place safeguards that would keep them from underperforming again.
Team members recognized their contribution to the failure but there were no repercussions because Ellen took responsibility as the team leader. (They also recognized that a repeat failure was not allowed.)
5. Two team members were discussing another team member’s failure to perform. They talked critically about the individual’s lack of skill and imagination. They criticized his follow-through efforts and his production. Paul entered the room in the midst of the gossip and discussion, listened for a minute, and then, interrupted.
6. Mary, the HR manager, was approached by an employee who wanted to formally complain that her boss, a senior manager, was bullying her. Mary immediately investigated the situation and discovered that indeed, the manager was acting in ways that could be considered bullying.
Other employees had experienced the same behavior. Several employees had brought to his attention how his actions made them feel (Brave souls.) Mary asked the complaining employee how she wanted the situation handled. The employee asked Mary to mediate a conversation because she was afraid to talk to him on her own.
Mary set up a meeting and was able to facilitate the conversation. She also warned the manager that he could not retaliate against the employee. It would be a positive outcome to say that the manager stopped the behavior. But, unfortunately, he did not. This required the next step in followup.
Mary finally went to his boss, a Senior VP, who intervened—powerfully and immediately. Then, the person's behavior changed. This story is an example of employees doing the right things, having professional courage, and demonstrating personal and professional integrity at each step of the journey.
7. A customer asked Mark, a customer service rep, whether a software product would perform certain functions that she needed. These capabilities were the deciding factors in whether she would purchase the product. Mark thought that the software would perform the needed tasks and told her so.
However, he also indicated that he was not positive and that he would talk with the other reps and the developers and get back to her that day with an answer. After talking with the others, he discovered that one capability was missing. He called the customer who decided to purchase the product anyway as she had been unable to find one that did a better job.
8. Marsha was responsible for producing a report once a week that was used on Friday by two other departments to plan their workflow for the next week. Knowing that she planned to take advantage of her vacation time in the near future, Marsha ensured that the report would be produced as needed in her absence.
She completely prepared another employee to create the report. Additionally, she wrote out the appropriate procedures so that the coworker had a guide in her absence. She supervised the trainee for two weeks so that her replacement had a chance to do the actual task. Finally, she touched base with the other two departments to let them know that a rather inexperienced person would be creating their report in case the coworker needed help.
Summary of Integrity's Meaning
In big ways and small ways, in visible or invisible situations, employees have the opportunity to demonstrate their integrity—or lack of it—every single day. If you've hired the right people, their integrity should shine forth.
Examples of a Lack of Integrity
Now that you have had a chance to consider stories of employees who were ethical and demonstrated integrity in the dealings with customers and coworkers, you'll want to take a look at the opposite.
The number of acts that you may see in your workplace daily that indicate an employee's lack of integrity are breathtakingly simple and complex—and noteworthy.
See examples of a lack of business ethics and integrity.
There are many ways integrity is defined. Most of us have heard integrity defined as what you do when nobody else is around, or what you do and how you do it on a daily basis. Integrity is a concept that includes consistency in actions, expectations, measures, methods, outcomes, principles, and values. Integrity means our actions are honest and trustworthy.
Is integrity important in the medical practice? What about integrity in the workplace? Why is integrity mentioned in the HIPAA Security Rule? This article will dig into these questions and address how integrity is more than just a piece of the healthcare compliance puzzle.
Integrity in the medical practice
For many medical providers, the relationship between medical ethics and professionalism may be what they consider to be integrity. Medical providers are asked to do what is right while using professional judgment. With professionalism comes an expectation of expertise, in a responsible and reliable manner.
I recently had a conversation with two physicians. I asked each of them what the most important factor is for their medical practice. Both physicians responded with Integrity. One of the physicians provided an excellent response when I asked her about the importance of integrity to her practice. She said integrity begins with the interactions her employees have with patients. She shared the following example:
Think of a patient who is roomed by a medical assistant. It’s common for a medical assistant to tell a patient the physician will be right with you. The medical assistant gets busy doing something else and forgets about the patient, leaving a patient unattended wondering if the physician forgot about them. Integrity is shown by the medical assistant checking in with the patient letting them know the physician is running behind, and assuring the patient the physician will be with them as soon as possible. This is just one of many examples of integrity in the medical practice.
Integrity in the workplace
Integrity also serves as an important factor for many hiring managers when deciding to hire a potential candidate. One of the first tools to measure a potential candidate’s integrity is their resume. It is common for a candidate’s resume to list integrity as one of his/her values. Other ways to determine one’s integrity include conducting a background check, an assessment that asked integrity-related questions, or asking specific questions relating to integrity during the interview process.
Integrity is so important in the workplace that Warren Buffet said that hiring “people with integrity” is a top priority when selecting a candidate. A person’s integrity is in many ways derived from the way in which they are viewed by others. By hiring people with integrity, a workplace that has a culture of trust, respect and professionalism is established.
Integrity in the HIPAA Security Rule
Integrity in the HIPAA Security Rule by definition is concerned with data or information. Integrity means the data or information is an exact copy of the original version and has not been altered or destroyed in an unauthorized manner.
Covered entities are required to “ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all electronic protected health information the covered entity or business associate creates, receives, maintains, or transmits.”
HIPAA’s integrity standard means that you “implement policies and procedures to protect electronic protected health information (ePHI) from improper alterations or destruction.” Implemented policies and procedures should mitigate the risks or threats to ePHI by any technical and non-technical sources.
One way a covered entity can ensure integrity of ePHI is to consider various risks during the risk analysis. For example, during a risk analysis a covered entity may identify vulnerabilities such as ineffective or non-existent policies and procedures, such as a username and password policy that does not meet the recommended strong password requirements. Or a covered entity may identify weaknesses in how protected information is received, maintained or transmitted, such as not using encryption or other reasonable safeguards for storing that information. By identifying these risks and implementing preventative measures, organizations instill integrity under HIPAA.
Integrity is more than just a piece of the healthcare compliance puzzle
In terms of healthcare compliance, are we doing everything we can to ensure the integrity of all ePHI we receive, maintain or transmit? Are we following the policies and procedures that are in place to mitigate risks? In medical practice terms, are we checking on patients to make sure they aren’t left wondering if they are ever going to be seen? Are we doing our part to ensure our workplace is one that is viewed as a culture that has trust, respect and professionalism? These are important considerations when measuring our integrity and are more than just pieces of the healthcare compliance puzzle. Integrity is in many ways derived from the way in which we are viewed by others and a measure of what we do and how we do it on a daily basis.
If you have any questions about integrity in terms of healthcare compliance, or if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of our professional consultants.
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 at 9:04 am and is filed under Human Resources, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.