A code of ethics/conduct is a document that outlines the vision, mission and values of a business. It is the standard upon which expectations of employee conduct are based, and the organization’s staff should use it as a reference point for decision making.
A code of ethics is important because it helps a business to define ethical behavior in the workplace, serves as a guideline to making difficult decisions and helps attain high levels of integrity.
This article will explore important factors that you should consider when embarking on the process.
Determine the Values and Goals of your Organization
The first step is to do a robust self- analysis of the vision, mission and goals of the organization. This will serve as the reference point for developing the content of the code of ethics. Consider what your business stands for, the values that it holds dear, and the goals that you would like to achieve.
It is not uncommon to seek the services of an ethicist or a specialist in human resources to help you clearly map out and express these guidelines for your business
Include Employees in the Process
Your employees will be the ones representing your organization on a daily basis. Your code of ethics should resonate with your customers through the actions of your employees. It is, therefore, important to include them during the development process so as to ensure that the code is the right fit for them and for your business.
Focus on the specific areas of your business and the issues that you’re likely to encounter within this space. This will allow for your code to be detailed and to specifically address the situations that your employees are likely to face on a day-to-day basis.
Clearly, Express the Expectations of Work Conduct
The expectations of employees should be clearly expressed in the code of conduct. This can be done through developing a framework for making ethical decisions that employees can refer to as a guideline. A list of examples of ethical vs unethical behavior could be provided, or examples of questions that employees could ask themselves when faced with an ethical dilemma.
A list of resources could also be provided in the code (such as an anonymous reporting system or contact details of the ethics officer), which employees can turn to when in need.
Use Clear Language to Communicate
The code of ethics should be a document that is easily understood by all the stakeholders of the business. It should, therefore, be written in a manner that is simple and easy to understand.
How we can Help
Writing a code of ethics is an involving process. A lot of information should be considered, and multiple stakeholders involved.
Seeking the help of a professional can enable you to design a code of ethics that inspires your employees and resonates with your customers. We work with you through every step of the journey, helping you design a detailed and specific code of ethics.
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