How We Strive to Apply High Ethical Practices at Ingage Consulting and Tortal Training


Evan Hackel
Evan Hackel

How did Ingage Consulting and Tortal Training become partner companies? How have Ingaged Leadership practices helped us create a better workplace and succeed?

The story begins in 2014, when Ingage acquired Tortal. Perhaps it was simply lucky that the top executives in both organizations (me at Ingage and Cordell Riley at Tortal) shared a leadership style that depended on valuing and empowering and developing employees. I believe that our similar leadership styles were part of what attracted our companies to each other.

The result was a renewed and strengthened commitment to treating all employees fairly. What ethical initiatives are we putting into practice in our enterprises? Let’s take a closer look.

All Financial Information Is Shared with All Employees

Cordell Riley
Cordell Riley

There are no closed books – only open ones. Information on profits and losses can be reviewed by everyone. Financial statements are shared and both Cordell and I are available to answer any and all questions.

This has not always been easy or comfortable. In the early days after the merger when we were making significant investments in technology and content, the financial statements didn’t look so great. We were afraid that employees would be fearful after looking and seeing losses. But we learned that the biggest fear is actually the unknown. By opening our books and working with the whole team to develop a strategy for how we could to grow and succeed, we created a real bond. Ultimately, that led to the company becoming very successful, because people knew we weren’t hiding anything.

We Share 360ᴼ Job Review Comments

Both Cordell and I believe in conducting 360ᴼ job reviews for ourselves, in which our performance is assessed by multiple reviewers in our companies. But we take 360ᴼ reviews a step further too, by sharing the comments we receive with all employees.

This sends a message that we don’t subscribe to hierarchical structures in which supervisors get to comment on the performance of the people they supervise, but not the other way around.

We Strive to Stay Profitable by Investing in Growth, not by Firing People

Letting people go is one way to influence the bottom line – or at least to appear to be profitable. But both Cordell and I think it is a bad way, and the damage can be considerable.

Once you let capable employees go to cut costs, you lose the income and value they can potentially contribute. And there is no guarantee that the good people you cut will be waiting for you to call when you need them again.

Instead of firing people, we have actually moved people into other jobs. For example, a marketing executive became a training developer for a time, when that skill was needed and there was less money to spend on marketing. Some employees report that the knowledge they gained in new areas enhanced their overall abilities and added new perspectives they could use when they returned to their original jobs.

Employees Help Develop the Companies’ Mission and Vision

We take extra care to communicate our mission and values to all employees, and our vision for the future too. But we also encourage all employees to help decide what we can and should stand for, and what we can become. Feedback from employees indicates that their commitment to the company has grown as they have helped define our core beliefs and vision.


In the short three years we have been together, our companies have grown in size, employee retention has been +90%, and we are on track to have at least 30% growth again this year. And if anything, our companies remain more focused on high levels of ethical ingagemeent.


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