Developing a code of conduct

A well-written code of conduct is essential for every business – it can provide guidance to staff as well as stating your business’ values and ethical principles.

A code of conduct provides staff with clear guidelines for expected behaviour in a variety of situations, for example, attending work-related social events or taking business trips. A workplace code of conduct can cover any areas of behaviour and generally includes a standard of conduct and practice, values, ethical principles, accountability and disciplinary actions for violation of the code.

Here are some tips for writing a code of conduct:

Involve all staff and management
Consult staff members and management from all departments for their input on ethical guidelines and performance. A good way to get employees involved is to hold a meeting to discuss your ideas and encourage feedback.

Be specific
Provide specific scenarios of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour to clarify your points and make the code easier to understand. Ensure your examples are relevant to the situations your employees are likely to encounter.

Deal with breaches promptly
Enforcing the code demonstrates your business’ commitment to implementing the code. Any breaches to the code should be dealt with promptly and must be consistent across the board. Set a good example by ensuring you and senior staff members follow the code – this ensures credibility of the code as a formal policy.

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