Another vital component of any ethics training program is a company’s code of conduct training. A code of conduct is a set of rules that clearly defines the proper practices that are to be performed by a company. This document is typically written by a legal or ethics professional. Similar in nature to the company’s Operating Agreement, the Code of Conduct fulfills the legal requirements of large corporations to create and maintain a document that outlines the organizational standards and rules for behavior that the company will strictly enforce amongst all of its constituents.
Contrary to a popular misconception, a company’s code of conduct should never be based on a generic or universal template; rather, it should be customized for the organization. Due to the varying responsibilities, contact points and relationships with other organizations, each company encounters situations that are unique and open to varying forms of unethical issues and potential threats. Therefore, a code of conduct that is mindful of an individual company’s line of business and interactions is critical. For instance, financial institutions face different ethical situations than construction companies.
Much unlike the days of the 1950s, today’s code of conduct documents are more reader-friendly and devised to appear more like a brochure, rather than a drab legal document. This encourages all people, regardless of their professional background, to be able to read a code of conduct that is legal jargon-free. It’s important for any company to make their code of conduct be available to all employees.