Code of Ethics
We work with leaders to develop relevant and engaging Codes of Ethics that promote employee understanding and engagement. Most organisations today are required to set standards of conduct and accountability for their members. However, communicating these in ways that engage presents a challenge for many. We are often asked, “What’s the difference between a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct? Do I need both?”
A Code of Ethics sets out the principles by which an organisation lives. It details the relationships the organisation has with its stakeholders both internal and external. A Code of Ethics expands on the Values Statement and sets the foundation for management of relationships. It provides reassurance to external stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers and supply chain partners, that they are dealing with a reputable organisation. It provides employees with a set of protocols against which they can measure behaviours of their peers and leaders. A Code of Conduct, on the other hand, is rules-based and sets out the ‘must dos’ of organisational life. Ideally, the two work hand in hand.
Benefits of a Code of Ethics
Codes of Ethics are most valuable when:
- All members have a chance to contribute to their development as this builds engagement and buy-in to the final code
- All members have an opportunity for training so they can understand what the Code means within their work context. For this reason, the communication and education strategy that surrounds the roll-out of a code is as important as the protocol itself
- The consequences of not abiding by the Code are made explicit to members
- The Code of Ethics is regularly used as a motivating and inspirational communication vehicle and not just used as a disciplinary tool when incidents occur
- The Code is explicitly used in decision making
- The Code is actively supported and role modeled from the top
Ours is an iterative process. We begin by reviewing existing foundational documents to ensure that the Code of Ethics is relevant and will integrate into existing cultural protocols. We then convene a focus group of executives and representative stakeholders in a workshop to establish their expectations and the objectives of the Code of Ethics.
We then draft the Code and present this to the executive team for review and finalisation.
Managing Values designs and facilitates leading edge ethics and business learning programs to assist organisational leaders and employees respond to and shape the dynamic social context within which organisations operate today.
We can also provide the following services:
- Sitting as external members of an ethics panel
- Developing appropriate protocols for internal ethics committees
- Providing advice to the committee on ethical issues
- Providing advice on appropriate procedures to enhance the commitment and effectiveness of the Code of Ethics and its dissemination
- Providing advice regarding appropriate investigative services
- Reviewing and providing advice on appropriate initiatives to support the intent of the Code of Ethics