A communications strategy for the ethics programme aims 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 also guides 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 explores this in more depth using case studies from leading companies.
These are a few examples of good practice:
- Provide a copy of the code of ethics, 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.
- Make sure that the code is translated for use in overseas operations and where different languages are used. Ensure that the code is communicated in a way that is compatible with local culture.
- Use all communication channels to raise awareness and promote the values and code. For example, in internal newsletters and staff meetings, have an ‘ethics moment’; get employees involved in sharing their stories of 'values in action' on internal social media channels; use cases of ethical issues and dilemmas faced by the organisation and its employees and how they were resolved.
- Make copies of the code available to business partners (including suppliers etc.) and explain its significance to your organisation’s relationship with them.
- Commit to only work with suppliers/partners with equivalent standards.
- Consider the use of desktop and other gimmicks to remind staff of ethical values.
- A network of ethics ambassadors is a great way to promote ethical values throughout the organisation and in different businesses or territories.
- Consider how best to engage employees on your intranet - discussion forums, blogs, FAQs, interactive code. Can you provide access to subject matter experts?
- Ensure that employees are aware of the consequences of breaching the code.
- 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.
- Ensure that employees are aware of all means of raising concerns, even if they are pre-emptive, as well as to ask questions and seek guidance.
An organisation which operates to high ethical standards is one where ethics is just ‘the way we do things around here’. This Good Practice Guide shares examples of some ways of communicating messages about ethical values to employees so that they are empowered to ‘do the right thing’. It examines the role of internal communications in establishing a corporate culture.
15 May 2015
This Good Practice Guide looks at practical ways that organisations can encourage a Speak Up culture by establishing a procedure for employees that gives employees the confidence to raise concerns about anything they find unsafe, unethical or unlawful. It examines the investigation process and looks at some ways which organisations can increase confidence in the process.
09 Nov 2017
Scenario-based training brings to life ethical dilemmas for employees and helps to embed ethical values into company culture and behaviour. This practical guide provides advice on developing and choosing different types of scenarios and facilitating scenario-based training. As well as corporate case studies, the guide includes over 15 IBE scenarios relating to different stakeholder groups with questions to prompt discussion.
01 Nov 2012
This practical guide provides advice on assessing whether existing ethics programmes are effective and culturally appropriate and developing and disseminating organisation-wide values and standards to take account of the many cultures in which a business operates, including training which is as culturally relevant to employees worldwide.
01 May 2012