Writing an Effective Code of Conduct
Does our business need a Code of Conduct to ensure stability in the long-run or are we ready to bear the cost of misrepresentation of our culture and values? Few such questions are constantly hitting the industry these days.
I wish it could have been as easy to implement an effective code as it is to draft it.
In the current scenario, it is crucial to fathom the essence of core values that our organisation intends to communicate at all levels of the organizational structure. For implementing an effective Code, drafting is certainly one of the significant aspects, however, my experience helps me to infer that ‘communication’ is the ultimate key. Everything for an effective Code simply associates to how well the message is being communicated to the stakeholders, irrespective of how well it has been drafted.
Getting Started With The Company Code Of Conduct:
Over the years, while connecting with different people from various organisations, I came across variety of views. Nevertheless, the most concrete view that could be assessed was ‘What is there for us in the Code?’. People often feel less enthusiastic in reading the material that every organisation provides in the name of ‘Code of Conduct or Code of Business Ethics’. They are more interested in experiencing the after-effects of following the said document. I believe, the feel of such after-effects can only be explained through innovative communication techniques that may either be in the form of plays or pictorial presentation of situations or conducting ‘train the trainer’ workshops or building a culture through moral stories.
To adhere to best practices, it is essential to highlight few specific points in areas of Conflict of Interest, Prohibition of Insider Trading, Whistle Blower Mechanism, POSH, Social Media Guidelines, Value for Human Rights and many more. However, in addition to this, the Code must be able to answer the following questions with an ease to the reader:
a. What am I expected to know about the Code?
b. How will the Code be helpful to me?
c. What would be the repercussions of not following the Code?
d. How well does the Code align organisational values with the personal values?
e. Who do I need to approach when faced with a dilemma?
If every employee/stakeholder of an organisation is able to comprehend such basic questions with comfort, the Code is more likely to be effective. Therefore, it is all about how the leaders perceive values and how well they seed the importance of these values in the foundation of the hierarchy.