To maximize your company’s competitive positioning in today’s global economy, you need to publish a strong code of conduct that everyone associated with your business is committed to. This forms the core of your compliance and ethics program. By adhering to a code of conduct, your company clearly establishes its business values, and you gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
A code of conduct is your company’s expression of its core values. It defines the terms that govern the ethical behavior of employees, officers, directors, and associates in the workplace. Further, it provides key guidance for decision-making in ethically challenging situations.
Businesses that don’t have codes of conduct are at a higher risk of non-compliance. To implement a code of conduct that reflects your corporate culture, you should begin by consulting all of the stakeholders. In addition, you also need to familiarize yourself with the codes of conduct of other companies.
Identify your corporate values clearly. Consider the language used and how it relates to the overall mission of your company. This helps you formulate a code that is in tandem with your company’s objectives.
Observe what other companies have done. To achieve this, it is recommended that you appoint a cross-functional team to review the codes of other successful companies. This should be done with the view of borrowing from their strengths and customizing for your company the elements that are particularly powerful and match your culture.
Write at an 8th grade level or lower. This makes the code a better reference document because it will be more user-friendly. You want your employees to go to the code for guidance, so they should not have to suffer through a 20-page, Times New Roman, black and white legal document. Brand your code – include pictures of your operations and corporate logos. Include adult learning aids such as FAQs or common scenarios to demonstrate application of the standards in the code to situations your employees are most likely to encounter.
You may need to partner with an external compliance and ethics expert for help. An expert can offer you advice on the process of developing, drafting, publishing, and implementing your new code of conduct. It may also help you accomplish this more efficiently, especially when you have multiple demands on your time.
We are here to help and offer a free initial consultation which allows our prospective clients to understand what services and assistance we can provide to them. Contact us today for more information and schedule your free initial consultation.