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Situations where conflict of interest could happen, continued...
Conflict situation #2: Relationships at work
Many people meet their partners at work because it's a comfortable environment to get to know like-minded people. But what happens to the interests of the company when employees form intimate relationships?
This can cause three possible conflicts of interest.
a) Confidentiality: If one of the partners in the couple is a senior in the organisation, he'll know employee salaries, future promotion plans and strategic information. He might disclose this information indiscreetly to his partner, who could be a junior staff member.
b) Unfair advantage: The temptation could arise to give an advantage to the partner in the relationship. This includes higher salary increases, promotions and invitations on business trips they normally wouldn't go on.
c) Break-ups: What happens if the relationship ends? How will this affect your company and what will the consequences be? Encourage employees to reveal their relationship if they start one up.
Conflict situation #3: Relatives of your employees who work with customers
You must know if any of your employees have relationships with any of your customers. This is particularly true for government organisations where tenders are awarded to family members, who often can't do the work. You have to tell your customers if one of your employees is related to anyone in their organisation. If possible, don't let that employee work on the tender or project relating to that particular customer. Get employees to declare such interests in writing on an annual basis, or when the employee's situation changes.
Make sure you have a strict ethical policy or code and make sure all your employees know the boundaries.
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