Posted by: healingtheworkplace | September 19, 2009

Code Of Conduct Or Values Conversation?

Hi there, how was your week? I’ve had a great week as usual. Being a self-employed contractor has its benefits.

Recently most of the people visiting my blog are looking for information about Codes of Conduct.

Which leads me to today’s post. Unfortunately I don’t know the reasons why people are interested in this topic…in fact I can only speculate…which I will.

That’s the nice thing about writing a blog…you can pretty much write whatever you fancy.

So, let’s suppose that people are seeking information about how a code of conduct in the workplace might help them deal with a problem employee, or a nasty boss, or a myriad of other issues in the workplace.

Some codes of conduct are so long and so complicated (seeking to cover every possible misdemean0r) that it is overwhelming to try and read them and digest their content.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about from the table of contents of one organization’s code of conduct:

  • compliance with the law
  • conflict of interest
  • use of assets
  • confidentiality
  • insider trading
  • intellectual property rights
  • bribery prohibited (I kid you not)
  • workplace environment
  • gifts and entertainment

Now, from a risk management perspective I suppose the organization needs to spell these things out. But is this really the purpose of a Code of Conduct? I think not!

Which brings me back to the question, “What is the purpose of a Code of Conduct in the workplace?” Hang on a minute while I check my trusty dictionary.

Code = a system of principles

Principles = a basic truth, law or assumption

Conduct = personal behavior

Let’s try this…a Code of Conduct is a system of beliefs, basic truths or assumptions about how people will behave in their workplace.

This brings to mind values. An organization’s Code of Conduct is written (or not) based on the values that the organization holds dear. 

The starting point for creating a Code of Conduct is identifying those values. This is a process that if done well should make the need for a Code of Conduct unnecessary. This would work in a small organization but would be more difficult (but not impossible) in a large organization.

I’ll save the values conversation for another post.

While searching on Google I came across the following site, “solutions to your workplace problems through the Hypnosis Network“.  That’s it! Forget about writing long and convoluted Codes of Conduct and have everyone hypnotized so that they will behave themselves at work.

You have to admit that this would make a great episode of The Office!

Cheers, Lesley


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