September 29, 2016
The recent investigation into fraud allegations at Wells Fargo is yet another example of things gone wrong. Wells Fargo now faces millions of dollars in fines, and thanks to all the media attention, a severely tarnished brand reputation. They now begin the excruciatingly slow climb of rebuilding trust—not only with the 200,000+ customers who were directly affected by the incident, but with their entire customer base and the even greater number of potential customers who will likely think twice before walking into a Wells Fargo branch.
So far, 5,300 employees have been fired in connection with opening phony accounts under customers’ names. But the question remains: How did Wells Fargo end up with 5,300 employees who were willing to commit fraud?
A recent post on Recruiter.com digs into this question and argues that unethical behavior is a risk factor that should be considered at the individual level and the at the organizational level:
“Every person has boundaries around what they consider ethical behavior—in fact, you can assess someone’s moral compass and predict patterns of theft, drug use, absenteeism, etc., before even hiring them. But for most people, there’s a big difference between “working a system” and committing fraud. If 5,300 people feel comfortable stepping outside the bounds of ethical behavior… then you have a culture and leadership problem.”