Communicating Ethical Values

A communications strategy for the ethics programme would aim to raise awareness of the organisation’s values, its code of ethics, what ethical practices look like and why they are important for the success of the business

It will also guide employees towards sources of advice and where to raise concerns, and provide examples of how the organisation is living up to and being challenged on its values.

The IBE's Good Practice Guide Communicating Ethical Values Internally offers in-depth assistance with case studies from leading companies. 

These are a few examples of good practice:
  1. Provide a copy of the code, or a summary of it, to all employees in the company and to new employees as part of induction. Some companies require staff to acknowledge receipt of the code.

  2. See that the code is translated for use in overseas operations and businesses where English is not the principal language. Ensure that the code is communicated in a way that is compatible with local culture. See Globalising Your Business Ethics Programme for more information.

  3. Use all communication channels to raise awareness of and promote the values and code. For example, in internal newsletters and staff meetings use cases of ethical issues and dilemmas faced by the organisation and its employees and how they were resolved. Developing and Using Business Ethics Scenarios has more information.

  4. Make copies of the code available to business partners (including suppliers etc.) and explain its significance to your organisation’s relationship with them.

  5. Consider the use of desktop and other gimmicks to remind staff of ethical values.

  6. Consider how best to use web based media beyond hosting downloadable pdfs - discussion forums, blogs, FAQS etc. Can you provide access to subject matter experts?

  7. Ensure that employees are aware of the consequences of breaching the code.

  8. Ensure that employees are aware of how to make enquiries or to report suspected breaches of the code, and the support they can expect when doing so. See IBE's Good Practice Guide: Encouraging a Speak Up Culture


How to ...

Ethical values & codes

The core element of an ethics programme will be a Code of Ethics.

Nine steps to preparing a code

The process for drawing up a code of ethics is critical in maximising its effectiveness.

Communicating ethical values

A communications strategy for the ethics programme aims to raise awareness of the organisation’s values.


Ethics training raises awareness around the code, what is acceptable business practice and where support can be found.

More elements of an effective ethics programme

Additional tools and mechanisms to keep the code alive and support staff to apply ethical values to the work they do.

Monitoring & accountability

The board needs to establish a programme of assurance to understand whether the organisation is living up to its ethical values.

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