Bettering your business with a culture of ethics and integrity
At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. This mission depends on trust—between us, our partners, and our customers—and earning and building that trust starts when we operate based on our company values.
A thoughtful, enduring focus on ethical business practices can strengthen your company in more ways than one—extending from workplace conduct to business performance and costs. In a recent report, businesses listed as a “most ethical company” by Ethisphere saw 13.5 percent higher performance, and according to Gartner, employees in high-integrity cultures see nine times fewer instances of business misconduct and are 12 percent more productive.”
To help ensure your business is one your customers can trust, we share our own standards of good business with our partners to foster a culture of fair decision-making at every touchpoint of the partner ecosystem.
Business built on trust
Our core set of values are meant to instill trust and sit as the foundation of our business practices and yours. They include:
1. Fair business practices that are ethical and compliant.
2. Upholding human rights and fair labor practices.
3. Conducting business professionally.
4. Compliance with environmental regulations and protections.
5. Respecting intellectual property and protecting information.
I’ve seen firsthand the long-term benefits these values can have on a business. Identifying and implementing compliance policies within your organization helps proactively reduce organizational and individual risk, including legal action and costly fines. And with established processes to mitigate compliance risks, your organization has an opportunity to reevaluate your operations and find efficiencies.
Instilling ethical business practices in your work culture is beneficial to both your customers and your employees, and it’s critical for our broad partner ecosystem as well.
To build and maintain trust with both partners and customers, we’re continuing to invest in systems and processes to help proactively mitigate risk, including:
- Partner business verification.
- Evaluation of potential high risk transactions.
- Using data and analytics to evaluate and predict risk so that we can detect potential risks before they happen.
Together, customer trust and a strong reputation can cultivate customer retention and referrals. Providing a fair and equitable work environment for your employees encourages retention and recruitment, as well.
Resources for being a trusted advisor to your customers
As part of our ongoing commitment to helping you embrace and uphold these values to instill trust with your customers, we’re continually developing resources, trainings, and documents designed to guide and support your continued learning. Please take some time to explore the following:
- Ethics and integrity training. Keep training your team with courses designed to help you understand and uphold the values that matter to your customers.
- The partner compliance forum. Our discussion forum is a place to ask questions and join conversations with other partners as you continue to build a culture of compliance.
- Reporting tools. When something’s not right, we want you to share your concern so that we can fix it. Expect every issue to be treated seriously, fairly, and promptly.
All of this comes together in the Microsoft Partner Code of Conduct which lays the groundwork of our partnership by detailing partners’ responsibilities and requirements as a member of the Microsoft Partner Network. This framework unites partners and Microsoft under an overarching set of values and ethical business practices that earn customers’ trust. Whether you’re new to the Partner Network or a longstanding member, reviewing and ensuring compliance with its content will help you continue to be a trustworthy representative.
These are our guiding principles for you as our partner, but perhaps it inspires you to go further and devise more frameworks for good business unique to your goals. Your people are a good place to start. When CEO Satya Nadella initiated a culture transformation here at Microsoft, our team spent nine months listening across the organization before we started laying the groundwork. Those findings—about people’s experiences, passions, and ideas for improvement—powered a whole new mindset at Microsoft.
It’s possible your organization can take a similar approach as you further a culture of trust in your business. As Microsoft Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan put it, “It takes time to tap into something people really care about and want to achieve. That power has real teeth. If people recognize your final destination as someplace they want to go, they will help you get there.” And as you keep forging ahead, we’re here to help, too.