Having a company code of conduct
is a great way to ensure you and your employees are doing the right thing when 'no one is looking'.
But it's more than that. In fact, your code of conduct
is the most important document your company has – after all, it's the foundation on which all your other policies and procedures will be based, explains employment expert Lizle Louw in The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
But does your company's code of conduct
contain everything it needs to? Here's how to check…
The six vital areas your company's code of conduct must contain
'First, think about the nature of your business, and then work out what you need to cover to ensure ethical standards and behaviour throughout your business and its dealings with the outside world,' advises Louw.
To do that, you need to ensure it looks at the following areas as outlined in The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service:
#1: Working environment
Your company's working environment should as far as possible be safe and free from risk. To ensure this is the case, your code of conduct
#2. Employee conduct
Health and safety
Sustainability and care of the environment
In this section, your code of conduct
must outline your company's stance on:
#3. Third party service providers
Privacy and confidentiality regarding information about employees
Your code of conduct
must stipulate the acceptable behaviour for:
#4. Government departments, agencies and the public
Giving and receiving gifts and entertainment
Conflicts of interest
Confidentiality and competitors
Working with suppliers and contractors
Not all companies deal with government departments, agencies and the public, but if yours does, your code of conduct
needs to reflect it. It should cover:
#5. Business assets
Bribery and corruption
It's your responsibility to ensure your business assets are protected and used as efficiently as possible. Your code can help you achieve this by covering:
Accuracy of records, reporting and accounting
Intellectual property and copyright
Information systems and security
'You must make sure your business complies with all applicable laws,' says Louw. To do this, 'first identify which laws apply in the context of your business and then set rules in your code of conduct
to ensure everyone in your business plays their part in complying'.
Take any failure to follow your company's code of conduct
and its principles very seriously. Employees should know that a breach of this code may result in disciplinary action that could include dismissal.