Code of conduct means having a set of rules within a business dealing with the topic of staff behaviour. A code sets standards that employees need to meet so that they can know what is expected of them to produce an efficient business.
Every code of conduct is unique to the business it represents. This is because it reflects the daily operations of the company, their core values and the overall company culture. The need for it to work hand-in-hand with the business means that there isn't one concrete code of conduct that every company can implement. However, there are certain things companies should be doing when writing a code of conduct:
- Write it for the reader by making sure it's easy to understand; this could be achieved by explaining any technical jargon.
- Make sure it covers all areas that impact the daily lives of employees and answers any questions that they may have.
- Gain support from the senior management team by securing a foreword from the CEO or President.
- Make sure it is accessible to all employees and investors.
- 1. Ford
Ford's code of conduct is clear, detailed and comprehensive. Each section is broken down into two key components. The first is an overview of the relevant policies 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 organisation of Ford's code of conduct makes it easy to read and understand. It covers a variety of topics that may impact employees, including the use of company assets, product quality and safety, intellectual property and international business practices.
- 2. General Motors
The General Motors code of conduct is comprehensive yet easy to understand with simple language and explanation of jargon. The code specifies who it applies to, how it will be implemented, and the expectations set for employees. They use the term "we" throughout the code of conduct to ensure that all employees, including senior managers and directors, are held to the same standard.
The code of conduct also includes a decision-making model that employees can follow when facing ethical dilemmas. The company has also includes several short question and answer sections to explain how employees should act when they are in certain situations, making sure everyone knows what they're doing
- 3. Microsoft
Microsoft's standards of business conduct have been drafted around one central theme: trust. The company emphasizes that trust is an important aspect of its operations, including with customers, governments, fellow employees, investors and representatives. The code of conduct also offers a process to help employees make difficult decisions that reflect Microsoft's values and standards.
Microsoft provides its employees with a visually appealing and easy-to-read document that is reflective of the organisation's values. The company highlights that the responsibilities covered in the code of conduct apply to all employees of the company, including directors, executives and members of the director's board.
- 4. Facebook
Facebook's code of conduct is published on the company's investor relations website and available for download as a PDF. The code is simple, straightforward and easy to understand. It covers important topics including conflicts of interest, harassment, confidentiality and protection of user data.
Facebook also highlights that employees can report violations anonymously to their managers, HR or legal department so that they feel comfortable in speaking out. The code of conduct also includes links to the company's compliance policy.
- 5. IKEA
IKEA's supplier code of conduct is designed to maintain a set of standards for the company's current and potential suppliers. Reflecting their trademark minimalist style, the code of conduct is concise, yet comprehensive. The document covers topics such as health and safety, wages and benefits, child labour and harassment. The code of conduct also explains jargon that could be misunderstood by employees.
They also provide references to link users to additional documents, such as UN conventions and other IKEA policies. By doing this, employees can gain a better understanding of the IKEA approach.