How (and Why) to Make a Meaningful Code of Conduct

How does your organization communicate its values, priorities and commitments to your workforce? Chances are, it’s through your code of conduct – but what state your code of conduct is in may open an entirely different can of worms.

In all reality, many organizations under-utilize their code of conduct. But, when used properly, a code of conduct is a powerful tool used to set the foundation for your company’s culture. So, let’s take a look at how we can clean off some of the proverbial dust from your code of conduct and explore ways to improve culture through a meaningful and impactful code.

What should your code include?

It may be an uncomfortable truth, but many times a code of conduct is sent out to employees during onboarding, annually during a campaign, and then stored within the depths of the intranet. Not only that, but it’s usually a static PDF that may be out of date and/or unengaging.

So, now that we’ve covered the common ways a code of conduct can underperform, it’s time to talk about ways your code can engage employees and be the valuable resource it’s meant to be.

The code of conduct for any organization contains a wealth of information. A non-exhaustive list of important items a code should cover include:

  • A letter from your CEO to set the tone from the top
  • Interactive table of contents for convenient location of relevant items
  • Important and up to date contact details for your internal reporting hotline, human resources, benefits information, etc.
  • A statement of your company values and commitments
  • Overview on policies regarding employee conduct and behavior expectations
  • Paid time off policies

Code of conduct, but make it interactive

One way your organization can improve information retention is by creating a code that is engaging. This includes keeping it up to date with current information and branding, but also adding interactive and easily searchable elements to prompt employees to do more than simply scan through the document.

One way this can be done is by creating a living, web-based code of conduct – a new subscription NAVEX is excited to now have available. With the newly released web-based code of conduct, not only is your code more user-friendly and easily accessible, the ongoing partnership also allows you receive quarterly analytics for engagement, in-depth reviews from experts, and updates based on best practice recommendations.

So, instead of a PDF that only surfaces during onboarding and annual campaigns, you could have an easily referenced and readily available resource that answers your employee’s most pressing questions – and provides analytics so you know when and what is being accessed – talk about a win-win.

How can this impact culture?

An accessible, comprehensible and interactive code of conduct is the first step in the process of engaging your workforce. Engaged employees are more enthusiastic, collaborative, productive and profitable, and they miss work and change jobs less often. To begin to capture its full potential, your code of conduct needs to consistently and accurately communicate your values, goals and purpose to all your employees. This provides them with a point of connection and a set of common goals.

However, if your code is outdated, inconsistently distributed, not easily accessed, or let’s just say it – boring – it probably won’t make the impact you want. So, if this post has you thinking about the state of your code of conduct, good! Perhaps it’s time to revisit your current code and better leverage this valuable tool. When the entire workforce understands your organization’s mission, values and expectations, it is easier to hold people accountable and all work towards a common goal.

There are many examples of what good looks like – and NAVEX is here to help develop and agile and interactive code of conduct that is customized for your organization. To learn more about the new web-based code of conduct and our other Code of Conduct solutions:

Explore NAVEX Code of Conduct

Chat with a solutions expert to learn how you can take your compliance program to the next level of maturity.

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