What Is The Code Of Conduct?
Code of conduct or ethics is a document that brings together the principles and values adopted by an organization, professional class or nation. It serves as an internal regiment, with the central objective of promoting a homogeneous posture among all the members of the group that formed it.
Depending on the culture of the organization, it may be called:
- Code of Ethical Conduct
- Code of Moral Conduct
- Code of ethics.
The variety of names evidences the proximity between the concepts of morality and ethics , since both words refer to the values and procedures learned in living with a group.
However, the code of conduct maintains closer ties with business ethics – a discipline that forms the basis of corporate governance , contemplating premises such as fairness, honesty and clarity of purpose .
According to the thesis “Code of Conduct”, written by administrator Hudson de Azevedo:
“It is no coincidence that the ethical basis of corporate governance is based on basic and universal principles, among which the following stand out: fairness, disclosure (transparency), accountability and compliance . Thus, in the same way that corporate governance practices are a good way for the organization to achieve the status of an ‘ethical company’, it is unthinkable that a company can practice good governance without the application of ethical principles.”
In this context, the code of conduct governs, in particular, questions of a moral nature, that is, questions that concern the organization’s customs and culture .
Many of these issues arise in daily practice, when professionals develop their tasks, and may not find support in legislation.
This is the case of theft, robbery or crimes against honor (slander, defamation and slander), all of which are punishable by law.
But it is common that, when starting a new job , the employee has doubts about the indication of family members to work in the same place, clothing or the possibility of using the company’s premises to have a meal.
These and other answers must be in the code of conduct, in a clear and direct way to simplify their understanding and adoption.
What Is The Code Of Conduct For In A Company?
Who has never faced a controversial issue or a specific question, but which could harm the relationship with customers and partners?
A good example is accepting or not accepting a gift sent by a supplier.
We’re not talking about gifts like key chains and pens, but a more expensive and meaningful gift.
This question needs to be addressed in the company’s bylaws, in order to avoid any misunderstanding or the formation of a favor exchange policy – which can be quite harmful and even facilitate corruption.
The code of conduct also strengthens ethical relationships internally, preventing individuals or groups from enjoying privileges that their peers do not have.
After all, with clear and firm rules, it is difficult for one or more leaders to cover up inappropriate behavior, such as unjustified absences and tardiness .
In other words, this set of rules helps to maintain equity among employees, supporting behavior patterns by showing what is and is not allowed.
Last but not least, internal rules help managers and other leaders who need to deal with uncomfortable or extreme situations, as they determine which of them provoke punishment and what measures will be taken.
Therefore, some organizations use the laws in force in the country or territory in which they are located to support their code of conduct, keeping the measures aligned and with legal support.
What Is The Importance Of The Code Of Conduct And Ethics In Companies?
As we explained above, when there is no code of conduct, it is difficult to have consistency in the positioning of employees , especially in the face of complex issues.
Using the example already mentioned, in a company that does not have its own charter, some employees might accept the supplier’s gift, while others would refuse it.
This would totally depend on what they consider most correct and beneficial at the moment, however, it would have an impact on the image and reputation of the organization .
An investigative body, for example, would have its reputation damaged in this case, gaining a reputation for accepting gifts from companies, at the risk of jeopardizing future investigations or complaints about these companies.
Currently, we live in an era of overexposure of individuals and companies, where care must be taken to avoid image blemishes or scandals that have negative effects on partners and target audiences.
It is increasingly common for consumers to avoid and even boycott companies involved in schemes, fraud, contrary to humanitarian causes or that disrespect their employees and customers.
Who doesn’t remember the scandals linking large clothing stores, like Zara , to the slave-like work carried out in their sewing workshops?
This was an extreme case, however, even in one-off situations, guidance from an internal code can help.
Employees who deal directly with customer service , for example, can be directed towards a more kind and inclusive treatment, avoiding problems such as the one reported by photographer Mariana Hart.
In 2015, she posted a complaint on Facebook, reporting the prejudiced attitude of a Pizza Hut attendant in Rio de Janeiro, in front of her son Leo, who has cerebral palsy.
Mariana managed to mobilize thousands of people on the social network, who were outraged by the attitude of the collaborator.
Facts like this can trigger waves of negative comments, boycotts, and even trigger lawsuits .
Therefore, investing in mentorship programs, codes of ethics and conduct is a good idea for any organization that wants to build a good reputation both digitally and in the offline world.
What Are The Benefits Of The Code Of Conduct In Companies?
When applied and validated with employees , the code of conduct provides guidelines that support the culture and improve the organizational climate , as everyone can expect the same treatment and management rules .
Thus, both employees and companies benefit.
See below for details on the main advantages of adopting the code of conduct.
Following a code of ethics takes a series of decisions of a moral nature out of the hands of employees, adding professionalism to the company.
It also provides greater day-to-day standardization , benefiting areas such as customer service and Human Resources .
When everyone knows what is, or is not, tolerated by the company, they can adapt their actions, reducing insecurity in dealing with other people and situations.
The result is a more peaceful and harmonious environment , with a positive impact on the organizational climate.
Leaders also have support to make decisions about unethical behavior or that is at odds with expected conduct.
Improve Image And Reputation
We commented on this benefit in previous topics, but it is worth emphasizing the importance of clear rules for a positive image towards the consumer .
Organizations that do not pay attention to this risk losing their customers because of aggressive, prejudiced or disrespectful behavior.
Simplifies Human Capital Management
Gone are the days when employees were seen as simple parts or extensions of machines, which were only there to follow orders.
Nowadays, many managers have understood that their human resources are the most important asset of the company , therefore, they need to be managed with quality.
Without the support of codes and policies, it is difficult to establish parameters that maintain employee satisfaction, such as valuing equity , combating moral harassment and bullying .
With the help of clear rules, leaders can manage routine and conflicts more fairly and assertively.
How To Create The Code Of Conduct In A Company
Now that you know the benefits of having a code of conduct and ethics, you must be thinking about setting up or improving your .
It may seem complicated, but it’s not.
Follow our tips below and you and your team will quickly be able to structure a regiment.
Select The Responsible Team
As in many processes, the first step is to gather the people who will participate in the elaboration of the code of conduct.
While it is interesting to have some talent , ideally, the team should not be too large, as listening to various opinions will take extra time and effort.
A good option is to elect employees who serve as role models for others, either for their ethical posture or for disseminating positive values – collaboration , dedication, respect, etc.
Leaders from strategic areas should also be present, as they will help define priorities to guide employees.
If possible, also have the support of a lawyer to address labor issues and other points required by law.
Collect Team Ideas
Hold free initial meetings, asking the whole group to express their views on topics that cannot be missing from the code.
Assign a secretary to write everything down and, at the end, incorporate the best suggestions into the document.
For more tips, read our article on how to brainstorm .
It does not mean that you are going to copy an organization’s charter, however, it is useful to have reference materials.
This way, the responsible team will have a better idea about the types of codes of ethics that exist and what issues are common to them in order to select the subjects relevant to their company.
Sectoral legislation and other rules that the company has can also support the construction of the bylaws.
Build The Code Of Conduct
Once the topics have been chosen and analyzed, the team is ready to write the document itself.
At this stage, don’t worry so much about format, adaptations or language errors. They can be corrected later.
Review The Content
Even though it is only used internally, the code deserves a critical review, made by a lawyer and leaders, and a language adaptation , which can be conducted by a reviewer.
Decide Where To Publish
With the document ready, it’s time to opt for publication restricted to internal channels , such as the intranet, or open to external channels.
Large corporations and companies that value transparency have adopted the habit of sharing their code of conduct and ethics on the official website, in order to express their precepts to the public.
This is a strategic decision , so choose wisely.
Communicate To The Entire Company
After publishing, disclose your code of conduct to employees.
This phase is extremely important, as there is no point in building the regiment if no one consults it or guides itself through it.
Therefore, spread the news in the internal communication channels , betting on endomarketing to enhance the sharing of rules and their function.
Do Small Businesses Also Need A Code Of Conduct?
The code of ethics is not a mandatory item for companies, whether large or small.
However, we have already shown that it adds advantages by facilitating management , standardizing service and increasing clarity regarding the posture expected by leaders.
So the code is a useful tool for small, medium and large companies.
4 Examples Of Code Of Conduct In Companies
Follow, in this topic, a selection of examples of code of conduct of innovative companies , with emphasis on the bases of each one.
Recognized for the quality and customization of its products and services, Apple uses suppliers from different countries to compose its solutions.
Aiming to standardize working conditions and the rights that employees of these companies enjoy, the technology giant bets on a regiment that serves as an ethical guide, along with assessments made every year.
On its website , the company explains that:
“The basis of the Supplier Code of Conduct is the protection of human and labor rights and the environment. And we go even further to empower workers in our supply chain and leave the world better than we found it.”
When founded, the company created a code of conduct that became famous for the phrase “ don’t be mean ”.
The recommendation would have come from the very employees who worked at Google in the 2000s, when they tried to define the organization’s principles in a less formal tone.
Later, Google joined the Alphabet corporation, which replaced “don’t be evil” with “ do the right thing ” in its regiment.
In 2018, Google itself also toned down the famous statement, subtly removing it from the preface to its code of conduct.
However, at the end of the document, employees can still read:
“And remember…don’t be mean, and if you find something you don’t think is right – speak up!”
Focused on safety and respect standards , Uber’s code of conduct is aimed at all members of its community, encompassing internal employees, drivers, Uber Eats delivery people, partner establishments and passengers.
There are, for example, prohibitions on discrimination, “especially based on characteristics such as age, skin color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national origin, color/race, religion, sexual orientation or other characteristic that is protected by law”. .”
“For example, it is unacceptable to refuse to provide services or to rate another user, whether an Uber Eats user, driver or delivery partner, restaurant or other establishment, based on these characteristics. In addition, it is not permitted to discriminate against any user of the Uber app or Uber Eats based on their destination or delivery location.”
Provider of financial services, Cielo maintains an interesting structure of code of conduct and ethics, available on its website page .
Divided into 9 sections, the document addresses the company’s scope, objective, culture and vision, compliance, management and general guidelines.
There, delicate situations are foreseen, such as conflict of interests , along with the behavior that the employee or partner must have in these cases.