A professional code of conduct is a key component of some of the most successful businesses in the world. Does your business have one?
In this article, we’ll discuss the details of an effective code of conduct and give you examples you can use to create your own.
What Is A Code Of Conduct?
Put simply, a code of conduct is a set of rules that guides behavior in your business.
Unlike a code of ethics — which is a set of principles that helps employees distinguish right from wrong — a code of conduct is a written collection of rules, principles, values, expectations, and behavior that a company considers fundamental to their success.
In most businesses, this code is a direct offshoot of their company culture.
It doesn’t matter if your business is one employee or 100, everyone — you, your team, your stakeholders, your partners — will benefit from expressing what your organization believes and providing a framework for good behavior.
What To Include In A Code Of Conduct
Every business is different and their codes of conduct differ accordingly. Despite that, consider including the following basics in yours:
- Company mission statement
- Company vision statement
- Unacceptable behaviors and their consequences
- Legal compliance
- Employee rights
- On-the-job training guidelines
- Internal practices (e.g., dress code, inclement weather policy, etc.)
- External practices (e.g., confidentiality, privacy, etc.)
- Onboarding process
- Job duties
- Chain of command
- Disciplinary process
It may seem like overkill to address all of these subjects — especially if your business is still small (i.e., one or two employees) — but as your company grows, every one of these points will become essential for the continued success of your team.
Now that we’ve discussed the key aspects of a good code of conduct, let’s examine several examples so you can get an idea of how to incorporate these details into your own company document.
5 Effective Code Of Conduct Examples
The best way to learn what to include in your code of conduct is to examine effective guidelines from other companies.
We’ve reproduced information — in some cases, a very small part — from the codes of conduct of some of the largest, most successful businesses on the planet, including:
Use this information below, copied from each company, as a model to create a unique set of guidelines for your own business.
Starbucks empowers all partners to make decisions that impact our reputation. Individual actions at work shape how the world views Starbucks, which is why it’s so important that we each take responsibility for Our Starbucks Mission and acting ethically in all situations.
The Standards of Business Conduct support the Global Business Ethics Policy and provide an overview of some of the legal and ethical standards we are each expected to follow every day. If you are unsure of what to do in a situation, you have support. Speak with your manager, Partner Resources or Business Ethics and Compliance about your concerns.
- Asking For Guidance And Voicing Concerns
- Anti-Retaliation Policy
- Workplace Environment
- How We Treat One Another
- How We Treat Our Customers
- Workplace Health, Safety And Security
- Business Practices
- Compliance With Laws And Regulations
- Conflicts Of Interest
- Intellectual Property And Proprietary Information
- Confidential Information
- Use And Retention Of Company Records
- Community Involvement
- Environmental Mission Statement
- Environmental Commitment
- Personal Activities
- Public Relations
- Ethical Decision-Making Framework
- Frequently-Asked Questions
The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put Google’s values into practice. It’s built around the recognition that everything we do in connection with our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct. We set the bar that high for practical as well as aspirational reasons: Our commitment to the highest standards helps us hire great people, build great products, and attract loyal users. Respect for our users, for the opportunity, and for each other are foundational to our success, and are something we need to support every day.
- Who Must Follow Our Code?
- What If I Have A Code-Related Question Or Concern?
- No Retaliation
- Privacy, Security, And Freedom Of Expression
- Take Action
- Equal Opportunity Employment
- Harassment, Discrimination, And Bullying
- Drugs And Alcohol
- Safe Workplace
Employees of Facebook, Inc., or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries (“Facebook”), and others performing work for Facebook or on its behalf, collectively referred to in this code as “Facebook Personnel,” are expected to act lawfully, honestly, ethically, and in the best interests of the company while performing duties on behalf of Facebook.
This code provides some guidelines for business conduct required of Facebook Personnel. Persons who are unsure whether their conduct or the conduct of other Facebook Personnel complies with this code should contact their manager, another Facebook manager, Human Resources, or the Legal Department.
This code applies to all Facebook Personnel, including members of the Board of Directors (in connection with their work for Facebook), officers, and employees of Facebook, Inc. and its corporate affiliates, as well as contingent workers (e.g., agency workers, contractors and consultants) and others working on Facebook’s behalf.
- Conflicts Of Interest
- Public Disorders
- Financial Integrity And Responsibility
- Confidential Information
- Protection Of User Data And Personnel Data
- Protection And Use Of Facebook Assets
- Compliance With Laws
- Reporting Violations
- Policy Prohibiting Retaliation
- Amendment And Waivers
- Company Overview
- Company Information: At A Glance
- Coca-Cola System And Value Chain
- Global Diversity & Inclusion Mission
- Equal Opportunity And Affirmative Action Policy Statement
- 2019 Reporting Framework Indexes
- 2019 Business & Sustainability Report
- 2019 Business & Sustainability Report Highlights
- 2019 Water Progress Update
- Human & Workplace Rights
- Human Right Policy (English)
- Supplier Guiding Principles
- Supplier Code Of Business Conduct
- Privacy & Data Protection
- Legal & Practices
- Code Of Business Conduct
- Global Anti-Bribery Policy
- Reporting Ethics Concerns
- Supplier Requirements
- Letter From Satya Nadella
- Our Culture And Values
- How To Use The Standards To Make Good Decisions
- Speaking Up
- Trust With Our Customers
- Trust With Governments And Communities
- Trust With Each other
- Trust With Investors And The Public
- Trust With Our Representatives
- Upholding These Standards
How To Distribute Your Code Of Conduct
The best way to distribute your code of conduct is by making it a part of your employee handbook.
Whether you produce a print copy of your handbook, publish it online, or create a digital copy (e.g., a PDF) you can email to your employees and make sure everyone has access 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
When you use the employee handbook as the foundation for your code of conduct, you set a precedent that can have long-term beneficial effects on the way your team members work together and apart.
Include Time-Clock Rules In Your Code Of Conduct
One prime example of a code of conduct in action is the rules you set forth to govern how your employees clock in and out for work. There’s a lot riding on the results of your employees’ time cards: money, advancement, even their jobs.
Because of that, it’s vital that you establish a set of guidelines for situations when a team member has to clock in late or clock out early.
You can help your employees stay within your code of conduct by using an integrated time clock/scheduling app like Sling.
Sling’s time clock feature allows you to:
- Enable geofencing to prevent early clock-ins and clock-outs
- Let your employees clock in and out for their shifts from their phones or mobile devices
- Track time-in, time-out, and actual hours worked
- Prevent unauthorized overtime
- Monitor employee tardiness
- Prevent one employee from clocking in or out for another employee
- Know who is clocked in at all times
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Visit GetSling.com today to see how you can use this free app to transform the way you, your team, and your business operate.