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Tone at the top Volume 3

Tone at the top Volume 3

03 Apr 2017

Having discussed how the Managing Partner can create the right tone from the top we now look at how middle management assist in getting this tone from the top through to the rest of the firm.


Members of staff who have responsibility for recruitment of staff must be well versed in the fact that when taking on staff members character and chemistry must appear right up there with competence.


All training programmes must begin and end with the emphasis on quality and integrity.  From the induction phase right through to the technical courses, ethics and compliance must be at the forefront.  Additional training as well as mentoring must be added to ensure the message is carried through.

Reward systems

Recognition and rewards must be based equally on quality, integrity and compliance.  These must carry through the desired values and behaviours.  Employees must not only be judged on what they do but how they do it as well.  Employees must also be encouraged to come up with ethical concerns as well.

Exit interviews

Exit interviews are vital in setting the tone from the top.  Employees are given the platform to voice their concerns over any aspects regarding the firm.  Independent interviews should be carried out and the results reported back to the executive.

One must also realise that dealing with staff whose actions are contrary to the firm’s beliefs and values are vital in assuring that the tone from the top does not get undermined.

One must always have social media in the forefront of one’s mind.  This can cause a major gap between what is actually happening in an organisation and what is perceived by employees using social media. The message being sent out must not be able to be read in any other way than the way management want it to go out.  Management must take responsibility for the communication being sent be it either in words, print or actions, the same tone must be received by all employees.

To ensure that the tone from the top is getting through there must always be a common signal being sent.  Employees want to be proud of the organisation they work for and what it stands for.  They want to take pride in what they produce and also be proud of the calibre of employees they are associated with.  Ensuring this employee loyalty is paramount when engaging with clients.  If your employees are proud of what your organisation stands for, it will be transferred to clients.

Remember how to reinforce the tone from the top.

  • Watch social media to see what is being said about the organisation and make sure it is the message that the tone from the top wants.
  • Remember to deal with unethical behaviour in a fashion that states you believe in the tone that you are setting.
  • Reward performance both on the performance and on the ethical and integrity basis.
  • Walk the talk.
  • Ensure the Tone from the top is carried right through the organisation from the top to the lower levels.



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