How To Write a Code of Ethics for a Business

Every business organization needs to have a code of ethics that has to be strictly implemented and adhered to. This will specify a set of rules on the proper conduct and expected behavior of its employees, which will promote a sense of discipline among the members of the organization. Aside from that, the code of ethics is the backbone of company rules and policies, which determine how the company handles business relationships with clients and other organizations.

Therefore, it is important to have a clear sense of how you want to present your company. Here are a few points to consider before forming your code of ethics.

  • Determine what you want and do not want for your company: what values to uphold, what policies to implement and what to avoid. It will be helpful to think about the way you want your company to handle business relationships with your clients, and how you want your employees to act in the workplace. These will set the framework for the basic guidelines of your code of ethics.
  • Consult your employees. It is important to get input from them since they are the ones who handle daily tasks and requirements. They know important details that need to be addressed that you or the management are most likely unaware of. Aside from that,  giving a voice to the employees' needs and concerns will give them a sense of empowerment which will make them come to respect the code and follow it.
  • Talk to your stakeholders. Investors, clients, and suppliers are key parts of your business and they need to be aware of the changes you are planning to implement. They may have concerns that you need to consider before making your code of ethics.
  • Learn from the past. There may be situations before that you wish to avoid. For example, an employee accidentally says the wrong things to a client, offending him, which causes the client to cut ties with your company. Applying what you have learned from past situations into your code of ethics would help your company grow even stronger. It will avoid past pitfalls from happening again.
  • Be clear and precise when writing your code of ethics, especially the rules of conduct for your employees. You should specify which rules apply to which people in the company. Make sure that even managers in high positions are bound by this code of ethics. An employee follows by example. If they see their senior manager slacking off, they would not be encouraged to work hard.
  • You can hire a consultant with enough knowledge or you could look up other codes of ethics. There are many samples that you can find in library databases and on the internet. These may enlighten you on rules that you have not considered for your company.
  • As early as now, plan department meetings for all your employees. This is to orient and train your employees about the code of ethics. They need to be aware of the changes and be reminded of company policies and rules once the code is finished.
  • Entrust the responsibility of upholding and implementing the code to someone trustworthy. You should put someone in charge that will ensure that everyone follows this code. This person should generate respect from fellow employees and must also be in good terms with the management, serving as the company's eyes to misconduct in the workplace.
  • Set a date for updating and reviewing the code. This process should be observed at least once every year and be set in accordance to the changes your company has undergone over the year.

Creating your own code of ethics is something that needs careful planning and thorough assessment. Most importantly, it must undergo proper implementation and strict enforcement when finished. This will uphold the company's values and rules of conduct.


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