How to write a company's code of conduct

By Ikpeazu Ahaoma Colette   2 weeks ago   114
Business

A code of conduct defines how a company’s employees should act on a day-to-day basis. It reflects the organization’s daily operations, core values and overall company culture. As a result, every code of conduct is unique to the organization it represents. Yet many companies struggle with how to write a great code of conduct and, as a result, their codes fall short.

Writing a great code of conduct requires a thorough understanding of the company, its culture and vision. But no matter the company, all great codes of conduct share certain characteristics.

 

A great code of conduct is:

Written for the reader. It is easy to understand and doesn’t include any technical or legal jargon.Comprehensive. It covers all important details that may impact the daily lives of employees and answers common questions that arise.Supported by leadership. It has been acknowledged and approved by the company’s senior management team. This is often demonstrated in the form of a foreword written by the CEO or President.Accessible. It is available to all employees, current investors and potential investors.Visually appealing. It follows a style that is clean and reflective of the organization.

Below are 18 outstanding code of conduct examples that you can use to update or write your own.
(A ✓ denotes a particularly exceptional feature of the code of conduct)

Google

 

The Google Code of Conduct is readily available online. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has published the code of conduct under the investor relations section of its website for current and future stakeholders to review. Google emphasizes the values it maintains and outlines a variety of important factors throughout the code of conduct. The document clearly states who must adhere to the standards set forth and how misconduct will be addressed.

The code underscores the importance of speaking up and taking action against wrongdoing while complementing the scope of Google’s operations and culture. For example, one section of the code of conduct is dedicated to the company’s “Dog Policy” which the company suggests is key to its unique organizational culture.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized

General Electricity GE

The Spirit and Letter is General Electric’s (GE) code of conduct and an excellent reference for employees and investors. The document outlines who is responsible for following the code and how they should adhere to the guidelines created by the organization. The document is organized into brief points rather than lengthy paragraphs, making it very easy to read.

The GE code of conduct summarizes the company’s policies and then discusses the role of employees with respect to those policies. Employees are provided a clear understanding of the correct procedure to follow in various situations.

✓ Concise
✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Great Examples and Definitions

Ford Motor Company

 

Ford’s Code of Conduct is clear, detailed and comprehensive. Each section is broken into two key components. The first is a quick overview of the relevant policy and the second is a summary of the requirements for employees under that policy. The code also mentions additional resources and documents that contain greater detail.

The organization of Ford’s code of conduct makes it easy to read and understand. It covers a variety of topics that may affect employees, including the use of company assets, product quality and safety, intellectual property and international business practices.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized

Nokia

 

Nokia’s Code of Conduct is a detailed and thorough document. It highlights key policies that all employees should be familiar with. Each section of the code of conduct also provides employees with a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are and red flags that may arise in different situations.

This easy-to-understand document is focused on helping employees make the best choices based on the company’s values. The company has also provided a clear description of reporting processes, retaliation policies and corrective action policies.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Dedicated Mobile App (iOS and Android)

AstraZeneca

 

The AstraZeneca Code of Conduct is a clear and detailed guide to employee behavior. It begins by outlining who is responsible for adhering to the code, why the code is important and the consequences of inappropriate actions. The code of conduct also provides the process employees can use to report violations or raise concerns.

Each section of the code offers quick reference tips that provide employees with a clear list of actions that are appropriate or expected. Additionally, AstraZeneca has provided definitions for several terms to prevent any misunderstandings.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized

 Toyota

 

Toyota’s Code of Conduct is brief but covers a variety of important topics. The company prefaces the code with its guiding principles and then explains how it approaches internal activities, such as R&D and procurement, and external activities, such as philanthropy and government relations.

For each section of the code of conduct, Toyota outlines which of its guiding principles played a role in the formation of that section. Additionally, the company has clearly indicated what it views as acceptable or unacceptable behavior.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized

Unilever

 

Unilever’s Code of Business Principles and Code Policies is comprehensive and easy to understand. The document discusses the company’s values and defines the organization’s approach when combatting corruption, engaging with external stakeholders, working with other people and protecting company information.

Within each section of the code, Unilever has included lists of “Musts” and “Must Nots” that employees can refer to for clarification about the company’s expectations.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing

IBM

 

The Business Conduct Guidelines created by IBM provide employees with a clear understanding of the expectations of their employer. This code of conduct is grounded in the company’s guiding principles and provides detailed explanations with examples.

IBM also includes several “Integrity Tips” to help employees make the right decisions in a variety of situations. Additionally, the company provides links to several additional resources and policies that may be helpful to employees and investors.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing

General Motors

 

The General Motors (GM) Code of Conduct is comprehensive yet easy to understand. It is clearly worded, with simple explanations. The code specifies who it applies to, how it will be upheld and the expectations set for employees. GM uses the term “we” throughout their code of conduct to ensure that all employees, including senior managers and directors, are held to the same standard.

The GM code of conduct includes a decision-making model that employees can follow when facing ethical dilemmas. The company has also included several short Q&A sections to explain how employees should act when they are in certain situations. The code of conduct provides links to several additional policies and resources, such as the company’s ethics hotline.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing

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