How to Write an
Effective Code of Conduct

Your company’s Code of Conduct serves as a central guide as well as a reference for users in support of day-to-day decision making. It’s meant to clarify an organization’s mission, values and principles, tying them directly to standards and expectations of professional conduct. Think of it as a table of contents used to easily find relevant policies, training and other resources related to ethics topics within your organization. 

What is a Code of Conduct?

Every organization, regardless of size and industry, needs a Code of Conduct. And it should be a living document that is easy to update, not a piece of paper that is tucked into the new hire packet, and never referred to again.

Your Code of Conduct comes in handy when sticky situations come up for your workforce:

  • An account executive offers a gift to a customer during a site visit
  • An employee unwittingly shares confidential information with a competitor
  • A distributor offers a bribe to expedite a shipment

The risks are real. When ethical violations occur, they can lead to expensive litigation, damage to your reputation, and a hit to your bottom line.

How Compli helps:

Save time and money by automating the development, distribution, maintenance and reporting of your Code of Conduct. We provide policy content specifically designed to address the riskiest areas of your business.

Out of the Box Ethics Content

Compli’s Ethics Solution Set starts you off with a core Code of Conduct policy along with training and disclosure forms to help automate your Ethics program

Article

Your Code of Conduct: The Sun in Your Solar System

Learn what’s included in a Code of Conduct, and how they help organizations become stronger and more efficient.

Cheat Sheet

Code of Conduct Cheat Sheet

For day-to-day decision making to be done right, you need a set of guidelines that represent your company’s vision, mission, values and standards of conduct.

Example

Google’s Code of Conduct

Google’s well-written code captures their culture and tone. Love their dog policy.

What should I include in my Code of Conduct?

Ethical violations frequently occur in several areas. To protect your company, your Code of Conduct should cover these critical topics:

Business Integrity


Ensuring your workforce acts with the upmost integrity in their business dealings is one of the most important areas your Code of Conduct covers. How do your employees conduct themselves when dealing with customers or third parties? When presented with an ethical gray area how do they react? What is your policy for giving and receiving gifts or providing entertainment to visiting customers? How do you deal with overseas partners who may employ business practices that straddle the line of legality?

Workforce Values


Unfortunately, workplace harassment and discrimination continue to be ongoing issues in the workplace. As a leader in your organization, how do you communicate expectations for fair treatment and responsible behavior among your workforce? How do you ensure your staff can raise concerns without fear of retaliation? Your Code of Conduct should embody your organization’s set of values. And ensuring your workforce understands and demonstrates those values will help create a healthy and productive workplace.

Data Privacy


Data breaches. Exposure of confidential information. These topics seem to make headlines almost every day. What is your organization doing to ensure your data is secure and your confidential information does not get in the wrong hands? Your data security guidelines and practices should be built into your Code of Conduct so your employees can safeguard against costly and potentially ruinous breaches of security or theft of confidential information.

 

Ethics & Compliance Resources

Here are our most recent tools to keep you cool, calm and compliant.

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