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How To Write a Code of Conduct That Is Useful to Workers

Setting expectations is vital in a number of areas of life.

For instance, while you hire a brand new condominium with a roommate, you’ll probably set an expectation that the entrance door stays locked always.

Within the enterprise world, setting expectations is particularly essential, as doing so gives readability for all staff and units the corporate up for fulfillment. And success begins with writing a complete code of conduct.

It’s frequent for companies to include its core values and its mission into their code of conduct. The code must be used as tips to set a stable basis for different firm insurance policies. These particulars about worker conduct and interactions must be inside an organization’s worker handbook.

Companies writing their code of conduct usually flip to harassment prevention software program as to ship commonplace studying content material surrounding guidelines, rules, and requirements that staff ought to uphold. 

Code of conduct vs. code of ethics

A code of conduct is commonly confused with a code of ethics, however the two are totally different. 

Code of Conduct vs. Code of Ethics

An organization’s code of conduct is a algorithm that guides conduct. It’s a set of rules, and behaviors that the enterprise believes play a component in its success. It additionally usually incorporates components of firm tradition

A code of ethics is a set of rules that makes it doable for workers to know proper from fallacious. In a way, it’s broader than a code of conduct and gives rules that have an effect on the worker mindset and decision-making course of.

Each elements must be part of the worker handbook.

Why writing a code of conduct is vital

Whether or not your corporation has ten staff or 1,000, everybody concerned, from the CEO to the interns, and even the board of administrators, profit from realizing the main points of a code of conduct. When management places their expectations in writing , they create a framework the place everybody is aware of the best way to present assist.

By writing a code of conduct, a enterprise:

What to incorporate in a code of conduct

The data included in a code of conduct particulars work insurance policies, acceptable and unacceptable conduct, actions, and penalties. It’s a information for workers to entry throughout onboarding and all through their organizational tenure.

Each firm operates otherwise, so a code of conduct doesn’t adhere to a template. Regardless, the under info explains what every part might embrace.

Firm values, ethics, and duty

This part of the code of conduct particulars any matters associated to the values the group upholds and the way it intends to place them into motion. 

Details about values might embrace:

Environmental duty instance: We at [Company Name] are dedicated to making sure that each one steps inside our manufacturing course of scale back air pollution, waste, emissions, single-use plastic, and/or pure useful resource consumption. 

Worker conduct and motion

Within the worker conduct and motion part of the code of conduct, management ought to go over what is predicted concerning efficiency and conduct. This will embrace components like the best way to deal with fellow staff or specifics concerning the best way to carry out their position professionally. It will probably additionally describe matters about worker conduct.

Examples of conduct and motion inside this part are:

Use of social media instance: Throughout commonplace working hours, [Company Name] solely permits staff to make use of non-professional social media platforms throughout breaks. Pre-approved templates will probably be offered when posting company-related content material on skilled social media shops like LinkedIn.


For all different company-related content material, staff should categorical they’re posting a thought or opinion on behalf of themselves, not the corporate. All opinions have to be respectful of the corporate. If an worker has a remark or concern in regards to the firm, please hunt down a supervisor or a human sources crew member as an alternative of posting a grievance on-line.

Inside insurance policies

The interior insurance policies portion of the code of conduct covers day-to-date enterprise operations. This part goals to provide staff the knowledge wanted for questions that come up greater than others, like how a lot paid day off they obtain or what to do throughout a climate emergency.

Some inside practices this part ought to element are:

  • The corporate costume code.
  • Annual go away, paid day off, and vacation time.
  • Inclement climate coverage.
  • The onboarding course of.
  • Attendance, tardiness, and punctuality.
  • Use of private cell telephones throughout working hours.
  • The chain of command.
  • Authorized and HR compliance.

Costume code instance: [Company Name]’s costume code is relaxed or enterprise informal. Workers are allowed to put on denims, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and leggings. Formal enterprise apparel, like costume shirts, slacks, and blazers, can also be applicable. Keep away from clothes that options swearing, rips, holes, crude statements, and unlawful substances.


If a shopper, buyer, or investor is visiting the workplace, [Company Name] will present an applicable superior warning the place a costume code change could also be needed. These situations might name for formal attire, skirts, slacks, khakis, button-down shirts, blouses, and closed-toe sneakers.

Exterior insurance policies

On the flip aspect, a code of conduct ought to have exterior insurance policies, too. This part particulars how staff ought to behave when coping with exterior events, like clients, purchasers, or outdoors stakeholders.

This part clarifies info concerning:

  • Battle of curiosity.
  • Privateness.
  • Confidentiality. 
  • Mental property insurance policies.
  • Necessities surrounding buyer communication.

Confidentiality instance: Workers at [Company Name] are liable for making certain that confidential info associated to clients, purchasers, work colleagues, suppliers, and all operations is correctly protected. Such info can’t be shared, together with on social media, until prior approval is given.


Lastly, a bit that particulars conduct qualifying as misconduct is critical. Technically, misconduct can occur within the above sections, however right here it’s a must to explicitly title inappropriate conduct.

This portion should embrace insurance policies surrounding:

  • Discrimination.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Abuse or assault.
  • Intoxication.
  • Bullying.
  • Plagiarism.
  • Reporting misconduct.

Discrimination instance: We at [Company Name] comply with the legal guidelines enforced by the Equal Employment Alternative Fee (EEOC), which states it’s unlawful to discriminate in opposition to anybody, whether or not they be an applicant or present worker, due to race, faith, coloration, intercourse (together with being pregnant, sexual orientation, and gender identification), age, nationwide origin, incapacity, or genetic info. 

Find out how to deal with a breach in code of conduct

Realizing the best way to handle a breach in a code of conduct is tough. If an worker doesn’t uphold the skilled requirements outlined within the code of conduct, taking applicable motion could also be needed.

In the end, how this breach is dealt with will depend on what factor of the code of conduct has been damaged. As an illustration, disciplinary proceedings for somebody utilizing social media throughout working hours and for somebody exhibiting as much as work beneath the affect of medication won’t be the identical.

That being stated, it’s clever to stipulate within the code of conduct that disciplinary motion, together with termination, for breaching a code of conduct could also be needed.

Suggestions for writing a code of conduct coverage

When writing a code of conduct coverage, human sources groups ought to bear in mind these six suggestions to verify it’s as complete and clear as doable.

Code of conduct examples

Generally it’s finest to study from examples. Beneath are some codes of conduct written by well-known and trusted manufacturers.

  • Coca-Cola: The gentle drink model makes it easy for workers to seek out solutions to precisely what they’re in search of with a transparent desk of contents. From there, crew members can search for particulars concerning the model, defending property, avoiding conflicts of curiosity, and dealing as a crew.
  • Google: From stuff you count on, like integrity, rules, and discrimination particulars, to issues chances are you’ll not, just like the canine coverage, Google’s code of conduct is informative and easy because it outlines the important thing particulars staff ought to know.
  • IBM: Their code of conduct is all about belief, and staff see that’s the frequent theme all through this doc. IBM kicks issues off with an easy-to-read desk of contents, a message from the CEO, after which dives proper into their tips.
  • Apple: This code of conduct begins with “The best way we do enterprise,” which units the tone immediately for key particulars about office behaviors, defending the model, particular person accountability, and enterprise integrity. 
  • Mastercard: It’s simple to inform immediately that Mastercard’s code of conduct hammers residence the model, theme, and colours. It begins with a message from the CEO and follows it up with a be aware from the board of administrators. It additionally affords a desk of contents so staff can leap forward to the solutions they’re in search of.

It is good to have excessive requirements

Particularly on the subject of the code of conduct your corporation upholds. From particulars about enterprise ethics and social media utilization to decorate code and harassment, offering this info to staff ensures a secure and productive working atmosphere. 

Study extra about what your organization can do to keep away from a hostile work atmosphere.



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