Code of Conduct

Skill level: Basic

Description

A code of conduct is a set of rules defining how an individual functions within an organization. More specifically, the rules set guidelines that attempt to constrain or limit the actions of individuals to what is in the best interest of an organization.

Often the code of conduct will have social and moral underpinnings, but more important is alignment with the goals and strategy of the organization. This is particularly important in service organizations because service offerings depend heavily on reputation and often a high degree of interaction directly between customers and employees.

Benefits

  • Clearly outlines boundaries for individuals
  • Helps to reinforce the organization’s strategy
  • Helps to clarify limits as technology evolves

How to Use

  • Step 1.  Review organizational strategy and goals.
  • Step 2.  Evaluate high-risk areas of concern.
  • Step 3.  Develop limitations and standard conduct.
  • Step 4.  Quantify limits and actions when exceeded.
  • Step 5.  Communicate the code of conduct.
  • Step 6.  Periodically review and update the code.

Relevant Definitions

High-risk area of concern: Any facet of an organization’s operation where inappropriate action could cause harm (financial, reputation, brand, etc.) to the organization.

Example

Super Steamy Carpet cleaning has just distributed new smart phones to its employees. The phones will help track work hours, improve communications, and enable real time inventory tracking.

However, as the technology was introduced, customers began to complain that workers were on the phone while working, making it difficult to communicate with them. Also, customer complaints have increased regarding excessive breaks. The company is also noticing a statistically significant increase in the average job time.

Super Steamy decides to augment its corporate code of conduct with a clause about the use of company-provided technology. The statement reads:

“Company provided cell technology is to be used exclusively for Super Steamy business only. No personal use of this technology is permitted. Personal cell technology can be used only while on breaks and should not be used while performing work duties.”

 

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