Setting expectations for employee behavior within an organization is a critical step for businesses that want to ensure they are on the same page as their teams. Whether or not you have a strict set of rules or you work in a forward-thinking, flexible structure, having a well-written code of ethics can ensure that you set the right expectations.
What Is A Code Of Ethics?
The employee code of ethics is an important legal document that defines the acceptable behaviors that individuals in an organization are expected to adhere to throughout their workday. They give general outlines of how employees should behave, as well as specific guidance for how leaders handle issues like harassment, safety, and conflicts of interest.
This document should reflect your company’s vision, core values, and the overall culture that you would like to be present within your organization. It is an essential part of the employee handbook.
The code of ethics is an important document that can have a real effect on your company, both legally and culturally. This makes it crucial for business leaders to ensure that the code of ethics is written clearly and intentionally to include the most essential pieces of info.
The code of conduct is the main legal agreement between a company and its employees, so it is very important to ensure it is written properly and does not miss any of the most important points relevant to the type of company culture you want to establish.
Why Are Codes Of Ethics Important?
The code of ethics that you share with your employees will lay the foundation for the culture and workplace dynamics that will take place within your company for years to come. It serves as a reminder for everyone involved in the company of what you stand for and how their actions should reflect these values.
The code of ethics focuses on explaining the ethical standards of a company and establishes the core principles upon which employees will be judged if disagreements or performance reviews occur.
How To Write A Great Code Of Ethics
Writing a great code of ethics requires a complete understanding of the values of the company as well as effective branding and communication. For starters, it is practical to avoid using overly technical wording and write for the everyday reader.
This document should be easy to read and follow for anyone. Technical writing can be saved for other documents. In addition to this, all of the details you want to include should be planned out beforehand, as this makes it easier to ensure logical organization and a complete document.
Some of the main sections that a professional code of ethics should address include:
- The professional standards that are expected of leaders and employees, like within the work environment
- The most important core values and ethical standards that the company champions
- The level of professionalism that is expected and how this should be carried out
- How disciplinary actions are carried out and what values they are based on
- Bans on illegal activities — drinking, smoking, etc.
- Internet usage in the office
- How discrimination and harassment is handled
- Employee relationship guidelines
It is important to note that these sections are just the most common across businesses. There are undoubtedly sections that vary between companies depending on the industry and type of business that is being run. For example, tech companies and grocery stores may have different sections as far as values and what is expected of employees and leadership.
When writing the code of ethics, be sure to:
The point of the code of ethics is to establish the positive values that you champion. It is important to be clear that you accept all different types of people and their unique personality traits and lifestyle choices, and that these factors do not influence decisions or their role in the company.
Choose Words Carefully
This document touches upon some important subjects that can sometimes come off as aggressive or exclusionary. Be sure to avoid threats, discriminatory language, aggressive verbiage, or any other type of biased language.
A code of ethics is important because it helps employees or organization members make decisions that are in line with company values in the absence of a clear rule or direct supervision.
A code of ethics can improve decision-making at a business, and make it easier for employees to be autonomous. Don’t settle for a below-average code of ethics, and be sure to follow these steps to craft a professional document that your business can use for years to come.
HR Search and Rescue is a full-service HR consultant for employees, employers, and HR professionals. Their professional HR consultants are dedicated to helping clients feel safe and always work diligently to improve efficiency and solve difficult workplace challenges.