The industry code of conduct provides organisations with the necessary regulatory support. They help guard against misconduct and opportunistic behaviour and foster change to cultivate a positive and productive business culture.

But what if your employees don’t have a clear outline of your organisation’s code of conduct? In this article, we’ll discuss what a code of conduct looks like and its importance:

Understanding the Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct sets out workplace organisational rules, values, ethical principles, and vision. It provides employees with clear standards, expectations, attitudes, and practices and how these play out. It helps shape organisational culture and becomes a benchmark against which businesses can measure performance.

Typically, organisations distribute their code of conduct policy to new employees upon commencement as a set of rules to determine expected behaviours. In addition, employees must follow an organisations Code of Conduct wherever they represent the organisation, including:

  • Working in the workplace
  • During business trips
  • Attending work-related events or workshops

What is a Code Of Conduct In A Working Environment?

A code of conduct in a working environment tells the employees the company’s principles, values and policies about how employees have to behave in the workplace. Moreover, it summarises each employee’s internal guidelines and acts as an external statement for the organisational values and commitment. It can help employees make decisions on the way they act within and whilst representing the organisation. Furthermore, it helps employees prepare for any ethical dilemma they may experience during their job.

What Should it Include?

Creating a Code can help businesses identify positive and negative expectations. Here’s what you should include the following aspects of conduct:

  • Harassment and discrimination
  • Compliance with the law and policies
  • Drugs and alcohol use
  • Treatment of clients and other employees
  • Use of the internet and email
  • Private business during company time
  • Honesty and misappropriate of client funds
  • Quality of work
  • Confidentiality of company information
  • Environmental issues and health and safety
  • Acknowledgement of others’ ideas and work
  • Rejecting bribes, benefits, and gifts
  • Objectivity in determining subordinates’ salary and rewards
  • Conflicts of interest in decision making
  • Fairness, lack of bias, and team spirit

What Does it Do?

An effective code of conduct fosters employee loyalty and retention. When each employee experiences the same values and similar company culture, they feel committed and valued. Moreover it serves as an outline for making ethical decisions. It also communicates the company’s values and policies to stakeholders, employees, and customers. In addition, a code of conduct informs candidates looking for employment opportunities about how a specific company would treat them once they join the firm.

Why is it Important?

A clear and detailed Code of Conduct is critical to deter inappropriate behaviour and encourage a positive workplace. In addition, compliance with the code helps avoid official complaints and boosts your business’s reputation. If you need support you can contact our team

Here are several reasons your business needs a Code of Conduct:

  • Ensures every employee has an appropriate understanding of expected workplace behaviour
  • It helps outline the company’s mission, vision, values, principles, and culture
  • Allows organisations to communicate what they want from the employees
  • Determines a clear hierarchal structure and defines the roles of workers
  • Accelerates career growth
  • Ensures obeying the legal system

Writing Code of Conduct

Writing the following sections in your code of conduct guidebook is crucial to making it effective.

  • Ethical principles–This section includes employee behaviour at the workplace and respect for all staff, including the janitorial workers
  • Values -This section includes an honest, equitable, and unbiased work environment
  • Accountability–In this section, taking responsibility for your actions, exercising diligence, avoiding conflicts of interest, ensuring appropriate use of information, and exercising duty of care obligations are crucial.
  • Standard of conduct–Here, it is crucial to include pointers that focus on commitment to the organisation, compliance with the job description, and proper computer, internet, and email usage to ensure that each employee is true to his job and work values.
  • Standard of practice–This section includes the business operational manual, current policies, and procedures to tell the employees how the organisation works.
  • Disciplinary actions– This includes handling complaints and specific penalties for violating the code of conduct.

You can formulate rules and regulations according to your organisation to match your business requirements and policies to ensure each employee has equal rights and values. You can look up the samples and templates to understand how to write an effective code of conduct, or you may use another company’s code of conduct as a guide to help you write yours. The team at Fresh HR Insights can also help you. Contact us here.

How Can Organisations Develop An Effective Code Of Conduct?

An effective code of conduct has a few characteristics in common.

  1. It is crucial to review a code of conduct each year and update the document yearly to ensure that the rules and regulations are up-to-date and relevant. Moreover, it is critical to alter the rules and policies to ensure that things in the company change with time. Your organisation’s code of conduct document should be a living and breathing document relevant to your employees and their job.
  2. The next crucial step is to manage signatures by the policy deployment that tracks stamp dates and signatures. Organisations can write an effective code of conduct. Still, if they do not adequately deploy it to their employees and third parties, the entire process of creating the document goes in vain. Ensure your employees and third parties sign the code of conduct and understand the document and its implications.
  3. Make sure that the code targets your employees. The document’s language must be understandable by your employees and not just the company’s lawyers. Therefore, ensure the paper has simpler words and does not include complicated text. It may seem easy to emphasize, but when writing a code, many fail to focus on this point, leading to severe problems.


Example Policy content

  1. Comply with all laws, policies, procedures, rules, regulations and contracts.
  2. Comply with all lawful and reasonable directions from <Company Short Name>.
  3. Be honest and fair in dealings with customers, clients, suppliers, co-workers, management and the general public.
  4. Display the appropriate image of professionalism at the workplace. This may include wearing the required uniform, safety equipment or work clothes, and if a workplace participant wears their own clothes, ensuring their appearance is neat and tidy.
  5. Treat customers, clients, suppliers, co-workers, company management and the public in a non-discriminatory manner with proper regard for their rights and dignity. In this regard, discrimination, victimisation or harassment based on a person’s race, colour, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy or potential pregnancy, union membership or non-membership, mental or physical disability, or any other classification protected by law will not be tolerated.
  6. Promptly report any violations of law, ethical principles, policies and this code.
  7. Maintain punctuality. If a workplace participant is late or cannot report for work, please telephone and let the supervisor know as soon as possible.