Importance of Code of Conduct Specific to your Business

A code of conduct is a company manual that states the rules, values, goals, ethics, and vision of a business. It provides staff with a clear outline of expected behaviour, and instructions on what is and isn’t considered good practices by the company. This includes behaviour in the workplace, work related events or any time they’ll be representing your business. We take a look at the importance of code of conduct specific to your business, and how to develop and implement these policies effectively.

The importance of code of conduct: What is a code of conduct?

A company culture lays down the foundation of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterises an organisation and helps to improve and clarify to all stakeholders (owners, employees, investors, the community, clients) a perception of a workplace. In fact, according to an LRN ethics survey, 73 percent of employees whose organisations have a written code of conduct, agree that it makes it a better place to work. Considering how intertwined company culture and conduct is, an organisation that clearly outlines their vision and mission is also more likely to attract and retain desirable candidates. This might include writing a section about valuing customer service more than KPI’s or encouraging teamwork and open collaboration over individual success.

Importance of code of conduct in the workplace include:

  • Provides a clear guideline of expected behaviour in the workplace.
  • Outlines a company’s vision, mission, values, and principles.
  • Communicates to employees what you want from them.
  • Outlines a clear hierarchal structure, roles of employees, and organisational structure.

Want to discuss the importance of code of conduct with a HR professional? Contact Bramwell partners for a complimentary consultation today.

Importance of code of conduct in the workplace this festive season

The festive season is a fun time for all, but also have an increased chance for breach of conduct. In the lead up to the annual work Christmas party, it’s worth sending your employees an email about the code of conduct to remind them of proper behaviour. This may include a section on wearing appropriate Christmas costumes and footwear and reminding them about the tolerance on excessive alcohol consumption.

How to develop a code of conduct

What are your company’s values?

Determining your company’s values or ‘mission statement’ is key to starting your code of conduct, as it gives you some framework to work around. If you’ve got a team of employees already, consider asking them to contribute during a brainstorming session. This might involve asking what they value, how staff should interact with customers and clients, the organisational structure of the company, and tone of voice. It might also help to ask staff what words come to mind when they think about your organisation and creating a visual mind map to keep the ideas flowing.

Outlining clear company expectations

Once you’ve worked out your company values, you can start to map out a clear company mission statement of expected behaviour. This might include the handling of sensitive information, intellectual property, company rules and regulations regarding discrimination and harassment, or policies on internet use and mobile phones.

Other components you might include in your code of conduct include:

  • Dress code
  • Alcohol, substance use & smoking
  • Equal opportunity
  • Use of company resources
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Attendance expectations
  • Health and safety

Set clear disciplinary actions

When there is a breach of the code of conduct there can sometimes be a lot of questions running through management’s head. Why did they do this? How do I discipline for this breach? What do I do next? As there are multiple forms of discipline that can be actioned, it is important for management to review their company policies – specifically their disciplinary action policy. Here you will be able to identify the various types of breaches and how to provide a disciplinary action. The industry standard of disciplinary action is the implementation of a strike system. Generally, small infractions are dealt with through informal advice (such as ‘we don’t approve of that behaviour, please ensure you don’t do it again’) or a formal written warning and performance management. If the bad behaviour happens again, it can result in a disciplinary action with potential termination. Or a company can implement a no tolerance policy which results in an instant dismissal for gross misconduct circumstances such as bullying, harassment, and discrimination. 

Methods of delivering code of conduct

A code of conduct policy can be sent as part of the induction package for new employees or implemented via one on one training or an online course. It’s recommended a new employee receive their induction package as part of their onboarding process, and that staff are regularly sent a version whenever there’s a work related function.

Need help developing your company code of conduct?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our article on ‘The Importance of code of conduct specific to your business’ If you need more help on how to develop a code of conduct for your workplace, contact Bramwell Partners on 07 3630 5695 or email us at [email protected] and one of our HR consultants will be in touch soon. Our workplace compliance and HR consulting experts know how to meet the needs of small business HR and compliance.