Friday, May 20, 2005


The case of HB 1515 (making discrimination against sexual orientation illegal) in Washington state and whether corporations should take a stand either way on this is an interesting issue from a recruitment point of view.

Anybody that has worked in recruiting knows all to well how a company image directly impacts the work we do. We constantly get inundated with questions about the good, the great and the ugly about our organizations. A corporation is a living, breathing entity and it makes good and bad decision just like the rest of us. We get to witness the impact of this on the front lines.
So--should organizations take a moral stand? Obviously it depends on the stand, who its stakeholders are..and what they stand for. Also, it depends on whether the corporation is a driving force of change and innovation--and the advancement of society.

But I think an even more important factor for taking a moral stand is timing. Unfortunately many have to suffer to get to the ultimate good or truth. An example of this would be those that helped slaves escape (the Underground Railroad) or those that hid Jewish people in their homes during the Nazi regime in Germany. At the time these were not popular decisions...they took enormous risks and had immense opposition. We look back now and they are heroes. Those on the opposite side are considered evil. And then there are those that completely separated themselves from the situation--they aren’t considered one way or another…maybe cowards. Now--looking back we can say that the RIGHT decision was to help those that were being treated unfairly.

In other decisions that haven't yet been morally sorted out by society it's much more difficult to take a stand. Does a company take the path of not having an opinion one way or another? Do they support a view they we know will ultimately be the wrong view? Or do they take a moral stand and suffer now so they can come out a hero in the future...of course...this shouldn't be the ultimate motive but more a symptom of taking this stand. The Zeitgeist theory pretty much sums it up--Societies Mind. Is society at a Tipping Point in terms of changing it’s morale stand for the good.

Either way, as recruiters we have to be prepared to take the hard questions from our recruits and make sure that we represent the organization fairly. It won’t do anybody any good to spin the company. It’s presenting the company in the best light possible while being clear and transparent. Allow our candidates to make a decision about a culture they will or will not want to be part of.

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