|Making It Work
A policy and code will not be effective in influencing decisions unless they are accompanied by a wider programme to reinforce a culture of ethics
For a summary of how to make a code effective: click here>>
In 2011 the IBE's Research Director Simon Webley, was involved in a panel discussion on 'Ethics in the workplace'. A summary report is available to download here>>
The programme for integrating the code into the running of the business needs to be promoted at the time that the code is issued.
This programme might involve awareness raising and understanding; leadership example and monitoring. Below are some suggestions for this.
a) Communication and awareness raising
1. Send the code, or a summary of it, to all employees in the company and to new employees as part of induction.
2. See that the code is translated for use in overseas subsidiaries or other places where English is not the principal language. Ensure that the code is communicated in a way that is compatible with local culture.
3. Use all communication channels to raise awareness of the policy and code.
4. Ensure that employees are aware of the consequences of breaching the code.
5. Ensure that employees are aware of how to make enquiries or to report suspected breached of the code.
6. Make copies of the code available to business partners (suppliers, customers etc.) and explain how they need to comply.
7. Reinforce an ethical culture with reports in newsletters on ethical issues and dilemmas faced by the organisation and its employees.
8. Consider the use of desktop gimmicks to remind staff of ethical values.
b) Understanding through training
The aim is to raise the ethical sensitivity of staff so that they know when a decision they are faced with involves an ethical choice and how they can find support for their decisions. They will also be clear about what is acceptable business practice and what is not, and why ethics and integrity are important to their organisation. They will want to know why and how ethical conduct is relevant to their jobs.
1. Include ethical issues in all training programmes.
2. Ensure that all levels of staff, including the Board, are trained to understand the ethics code and policy and how it works.
c) A supportive corporate culture
A code and policy will be most effective in their aims where a culture of ethics exists and is reinforced consistently across the organisation.
1. Leadership example
Make sure that the code is endorsed by the Chairman and CEO, but also that all senior staff are aware of the importance of example in establishing normal business practice.
Ensure that staff are aware that the Board takes ethical values into consideration when formulating strategy for the business
2. Contracts and reviews
Consider making adherence to the code obligatory by including reference to it in all contracts of employment and linking it with disciplinary procedures.
Make reinforcement of or acting in accordance with an ethical culture an element of staff development reviews and bonus evaluations.
Consider having a self-certification procedure for managers and supervisors regularly to state that they and their staff understand and apply the provisions of the code.
3. Speak Up
Promote a spea up policy and procedure that employees are confident in
An employee should know how to react if he or she is faced with a potential breach of the code or is in doubt about a course of action involving an ethical choice.
d) Governance, monitoring and accountability
Consider against what criteria performance will be assessed. Tools include staff surveys and establishing performance indicators for each section of the code of ethics.
Consider any external standards you wish to comply with.
The board should receive regular reports on ethical performance, ethical issues, breaches of the code and use of speak up lines.
3. Regular Review