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.
  • Use creative methods to remind staff of ethical values and other key messages.
  • 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. 

Essential resources