What it means to do the right thing

April 27, 2018 | GET MORE : Ethics

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Employees at one of the 2018 World's Most Ethical Companies share how they approach every day with integrity.

When U.S. Bank Chief Administrative Officer Kate Quinn joined the company as head of strategy and reputation four years ago, she talked to hundreds of U.S. Bank employees who all seemed to mention the one thing they liked most about their workplace – the culture. 

"One of my first orders of business was to define this culture through a set of core values that we could all live by," Quinn said. "This meant carefully understanding the dozens of sets of core values that existed across the company, understanding the common themes, and finally, unifying the company under a single set of five."  They are: 

  • We do the right thing. 
  • We put people first.
  • We power potential.
  • We draw strength from diversity.
  • We stay a step ahead.

Quinn said that listening to employee feedback first was the key to defining – rather than redefining – the bank's culture, and to creating a set of values that would help its 70,000-plus employees make decisions big and small. As such, each value had to be applicable to bankers with vastly different day-to-day responsibilities.

An underlying commitment to integrity is what makes that possible, said Global Chief Ethics Officer Katie Lawler. "Integrity has always been a part of who we are, and our core values shine a bright light on that." 

When U.S. Bank was recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the 2018 World's Most Ethical Companies for the fourth year in a row, we asked employees to share how one value in particular – We do the right thing – shapes how they approach their role. Here's what a few U.S. Bankers had to say:

"Doing the right thing means following my inner compass so that at the end of the day I feel proud of my choices. That translates from the smallest to the largest decisions. To me, that is an important part of leadership."

Hassan Salem, commercial banking region president.

"'We do the right thing' is a simple yet exceptional core value. Customers enter my work area with all types of specific needs – and each should be treated specially. Doing the right thing helps every customer feel valued and want to return for a future need. I am proud to work at an organization that places such value on doing the right thing."

Julie Peterson, personal banker.

"After our employees, customer data is our most precious asset – and we protect it accordingly. We work with our regulatory, compliance, risk and legal partners to make sure we do the right thing with fair data use."

Bill Hoffman, chief analytics officer.

Pat Swanson works in public affairs and communications with U.S. Bank.