If you’re a regular reader of the Viget blogs, then you already have a sense for the close-knit, family atmosphere we’ve fostered here at Viget. Not coincidentally, I believe, we have high retention rates and continue to maintain strong relationships with Viget Alumni who depart for new adventures (and who sometimes return) as a result of this culture. While we blog often about the fun team-building activities we sponsor (like broomball, curling, and snow tubing last month) that reinforce this tight-knit culture, there is another facet of Viget culture that unites us that is rarely discussed outside of Viget: ethics and honor in the workplace.
For context, I started my career years ago as a civilian contractor for the US Navy. Like everyone else who has worked on Government contracts, I was required to affirm annually that I had read and would comply with the Procurement Integrity Act. I’ve endured background checks, drug tests, polygraphs, and DIS interviews. And, for ten years, I worked alongside military personnel who epitomized honor and integrity. These principles weren’t empty words during this stage of my career: these rules of conduct were frequently referenced in everyday conversations, tales from the battlefield, and how everyone treated one another.
Here at Viget, I have HR responsibilities, run payroll, administer benefits, participate in pricing and proposal development, and negotiate contracts -- nearly everything I do requires strict adherence to ethical standards and I find myself talking about ethics with others here quite frequently. Conducting oneself honorably and with integrity underlies so much of what we do and I wonder if our focus on it is unusual today. I am disheartened every time I read about another scandal at a publicly-traded company, non-profit, or government agency where greed or a lapse of ethics contribute to widespread fraud, theft, or corruption. And, let’s not talk about the most disappointing role model in recent memory.