Over the past 15 years, corporate Codes of Conduct have gone from dense single-spaced text to colorful brochures of stock photos and snazzy graphic designs that span anywhere from 20 to 80 pages.
The better a Code of Conduct looks, the thinking goes, the better it can show the outside world that the company is serious about its ethics and compliance efforts.
But a good-looking Code does not always mean an effective one. While thoughtful design can be helpful, the real work behind a good Code of Conduct is how it is written, communicated, and adopted by employees to guide their day-to-day work.
We’ve seen a text and legalese-heavy Code of Conduct used extremely well because the CEO memorized important sections and personally reviewed them with new hires. We’ve also seen a beautifully designed one that touts trust and integrity as core values shortly before the company paid a 9-figure fine for bribery.
Below are suggestions that companies of any size can follow to get the most out of their Codes of Conduct:
Depending on the maturity of your company’s ethics & compliance program, some of the suggestions may be more difficult to achieve than others. That’s OK. Strengthening the Code of Conduct, and the ethics & compliance program in general, is a marathon, not a sprint. Any effort invested will lead you closer to the ultimate goal.
Contact us to learn more about how Principle Compliance can help improve your company’s Code of Conduct: