Setting the Stage for Success: The Significance of a Clear Code of Conduct image represented with businessman with paper

Setting the Stage for Success: The Significance of a Clear Code of Conduct

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Written by: SafeWorkforce
27th June

Workplace conduct policy

A workplace conduct policy is a guide that outlines the rules, values, and vision of a business.  This is commonly known as a code of conduct and provides guidelines about appropriate behaviour for the company’s staff.  It sets out the rules and expectations to guide employees to know how to behave inside and outside of work.  A comprehensive code of conduct is essential for the success of the company in complying with relevant legislation. 

A company’s code of conduct might usually form part of the company’s employee handbook or it could be a separate policy.

Why is a code of conduct important?

It’s important for employees to understand the rules of an organisation, so that they know what is expected of them and what they should be working towards. By setting out in explicit terms what the rules and expectations are of employees within the organisation it helps keep individuals to work to the same standards despite any differing background, experience, or role that they are starting out from.

If employees understand what is expected of them, they are less likely to breach the code of conduct as they will know what counts as inappropriate behaviour and avoid it, reducing workplace conflict as a result as they will be more respectful towards colleagues as they know it goes against the company’s values. 

The benefits of having a clear set of guidelines are:

It shows a company’s values

When a company publishes its code of conduct on its website, anyone interested in the company can view the policy to learn about the company’s values, ethics and morals.  The types of people interested in the company could include potential employees, customers or other stakeholders. 

It provides guidelines for workplace behaviour

A code of conduct contains detailed rules and expectations to guide employees about appropriate behaviour at work.  Certainty about this can help employees develop and maintain professional relationships between employees and their managers.

It ensures compliance with the law

A code of conduct usually covers items such as workplace harassment and unethical behaviour.  Following the guidelines can help employees comply with applicable workplace legislation.  It removes any doubt of whether certain actions are legally ok or not.

It increases employee morale

There is higher workplace satisfaction in companies where employees treat each other as equals and abide by the code of conduct’s guidelines.  Workplace satisfaction increases employee morale and can help the company retain and attract more of its employees.  This is turn, can reduce costs and increase profits.

It assists with employee monitoring

A code of conduct helps employers monitor their employees’ compliance at work.  Employers need to discuss the rules applicable to a work environment.  When they notice an employee is not abiding by the code of conduct, they need to raise the specific issues of non-compliance with the employee to help them improve their behaviour.

Areas covered in a code of conduct

There are several areas that a company will look to include in their code of conduct and this will vary between different types of businesses but might include:

  • Company values and vision
  • Employee behaviours
  • Dress code
  • Lateness and absenteeism
  • Leave policy
  • Employee rest break policy
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Communication
  • Harassment
  • Reporting of misconduct
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Illegal activities such as corruption and fraud
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Confidentiality
  • Using company property
  • Use of technology
  • Internet usage – cyber security, corporate email, social media
  • Gift and entertainment policies
  • Relationships in the workplace

Code of conduct best practices

When developing a company code of conduct, you should bear in mind these best practices:

  • Avoid technical jargon and write the document for the reader
  • Take time to think about all the details that should be covered in the code of conduct
  • Make it comprehensive and answer all the questions that might arise
  • Make it easily accessible by all the employees and other stakeholders
  • Design the document in line with the company branding and make it easy to follow

At SafeWorkforce we’re able to offer you an outsourcing service for your Human Resource needs so that you get:

  • Specialist guidance from our experts.
  • Supporting you in becoming legal and compliant.
  • A tailored approach that suits your business.

To speak to a member of the team, get in touch on 0333 355 9140 opt.4 or make an enquiry.