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Employee Code of Conduct.

Updated: 17 hours ago

employee code of conduct
employee code of conduct

Every organisation expects its employees to display and meet a high standard of personal conduct. You expect them to treat other people with respect, strive each day to do high-quality work, and behave professionally.

Do you assume that your expectations are widely understood? Do you think that you and your team have an unspoken shared understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable, both inside and outside of work? Well, you shouldn’t.

Instead, it’s a smart move to pull these guidelines into a formal ‘Employee Code of Conduct’ policy.

If you’re having trouble drafting your own code of conduct, or need help putting one together, get in touch today.

A well-put-together code of conduct (that’s used in the right way), can have a positive effect on employee behaviour - and the attitude of everyone in the organisation.

What is an Employee Code of Conduct?

An Employee Code of Conduct contains a clear set of rules about how employees can and can’t behave inside (and sometimes outside) of work. It shares your expectations for how employees will conduct themselves whilst they work for you - and what might happen if they don’t meet those expectations. A good code of conduct often covers a variety of topics, from attendance, to dress code, or smoking, to your acceptable use of IT equipment, or social media policy. While many codes of conduct cover those staple issues, it’s important to remember that your code of conduct is meant to support your organisation’s broader mission and values. That means your code of conduct should be tailored to your business.

Why is it important to have a documented Employee Code of Conduct?

There are many reasons why a code of conduct is important. Here are just some of them...

  1. It creates clarity as to what you expect from your employees.

  2. It communicates your company’s values and what’s important at work.

  3. It provides a written fallback should you face a conduct issue. If an employee falls short of your expectations, you can hold them accountable.

  4. Employees are more likely to behave in the way you want them to when you provide them with clear guidelines to do so.

What should be included in an Employee Code of Conduct?

No two organisations are the same, so your code of conduct should be as unique as you are. However, there are some common topics that codes often cover. Have a look at some of the most covered below:

  • A foreword from the CEO or Founder

  • The organisation’s core values

  • Compliance with laws

  • Rules and policies covering:

  • Appearance and dress

  • Attendance and timekeeping

  • Professional behaviour and conduct

  • Conduct outside of work

  • Smoking, alcohol, and other substances

  • Acceptable use of IT equipment

  • Use of social media

  • Conflicts of interest

  • Confidentiality

  • Equality, diversity, and inclusion

  • Whistleblowing

  • Disciplinary actions

  • Signature page

These are just the basics - your own code of conduct might need to include other things that are important to your organisation. While you may wish to have individual policies in place for these areas, it can be helpful to touch upon them in your code of conduct too.

Top tips

  1. Your code of conduct should be given to every new employee on day one of their employment - by doing so, you are quickly creating awareness of your expectations (and any rules you require them to follow).

  2. When creating your code of conduct, keep different types of working in mind so that documents like work-from-home policy guidelines remain consistent with in-office ones.

  3. Get every employee to sign (and date) a copy of your code of conduct and retain it in their personnel file. If an employee falls short of your expectations, you can more easily hold them accountable if you have evidence that they have been supplied with a copy of your code of conduct.

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