Florida Gulf Coast University is offering the RESTART SWFL initiative to help revitalize SWFL organizations and the economy of the overall region. Local organizations can earn the RESTART SWFL Seal of Confidence by taking a pledge to operate in a healthy, vigilant, fair, and ethical manner, and by viewing two webinars and passing quizzes about them.
FGCU recently hosted the panel “Leading Heroically and Ethically in the Coronavirus Era.” You can view this webinar at www.anymeeting.com/426-108-354/EA51DA8381483D and get the wisdom and advice of regional business leaders Gail Markham, Michael Wynn, and Dawn-Marie Driscoll. Leading heroically has two dimensions. First, wake up each morning asking yourself, “what can I do today to make a difference in the world by going above and beyond what is expected of me to add value for others?” Secondly, with all of your decisions, big and small, choose to do the right thing. Sadly, most people don’t choose to be heroic.
Gail Markham, CPA, founder of Markham Mosteller Wright Norton and Company, a winner of the Uncommon Friends Foundation Business Ethics Award (UFFBEA) explained the differences in using the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for maximum forgiveness. The PPP rules have changed over time, so organizations need to stay on top of the current rules.
Michael Wynn, President of Sunshine Ace Hardware (SAH), also a UFFBEA recipient, mentioned the importance of networking with your peers to navigate these federal programs. He also described several ways in which his company has adapted and led in the pandemic era. Michael discussed how SAH walks the fine line of sharing information but not increasing fear in his customers or employees. For example, he noted that many retail businesses do extra cleaning after closing. He recommends actually doing the cleaning during business hours so customers can visibly see the cleaning taking place. Wynn also asks for feedback from employees and customers by emailing them directly and posting SAH safety protocols on various social media platforms, and asking customers and employees how they feel about these measures.
Dawn-Marie Driscoll, an attorney and business ethics expert affiliated with the Hoffman Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University, emphasizes that leaders should allow their ethics to drive their leadership and their decisions. Employers will get information from government officials, but those will only be minimum criteria. Organizations can, for example, create greater distance requirements than the minimum.
With regard to a COVID surcharge, panelists recommend that, for long-term customer success, organizations do everything they can to avoid imposing such a surcharge. If an owner feels one is absolutely necessary, be transparent about it, and remove it as soon as possible.
Working from home might be a regular occurrence in some jobs. If you can’t trust an employee to work at home, that employee shouldn’t be trusted with other matters, and consequently, shouldn’t work with your organization.
For other free resources to assist you during the pandemic, visit https://www.fgcu.edu/restart/