Developing an Employee Code of Conduct

The Employee Code of Conduct usually works in conjunction with an organisation’s mission and vision statement, and its core values. It provides guidelines of an organisation’s expectations of employees on their appropriate workplace behaviour at all times, and the various disciplinary outcomes if it were to be breached.

The Employee Code of Conduct usually works in conjunction with an organisation’s mission and vision statement, and its core values. It provides guidelines of an organisation’s expectations of employees on their appropriate workplace behaviour at all times, and the various disciplinary outcomes if it were to be breached.

Where can one find the Code of Conduct?
    Employees will be introduced to an organisation’s code of conduct on his first day of work, during induction.
    Most organisations have a set of very well-defined, written policies and procedures of code of conduct, often found in the HR Policies and Procedures Manual as well as the HR Policies Employee
    Handbook.

It is good practice to frequently re-emphasise and remind all employees for compliance purpose
 
What are the examples of Employee Code of Conduct?
Policies on code of conduct can include the employees’ dress code, workplace harassment, grievance handling, and the handling of confidential information, etc.

Grievance Handling
An organisation has to provide a legitimate channel for employees to address their grievances.
Policy and procedure for grievance handling must be communicated to employees to encourage them to approach their immediate supervisor to have their concerns properly addressed.
Immediate supervisors must be equipped with the right skillset to address the grievances of the employees and this can be achieved through training.

Confidentiality of Information and Permission to Engage in Additional Employment
Throughout the course of work, employees may gain access to the confidential or private information of the organisation.
An organisation would want to ensure that such confidential information will not be disclosed or communicated to any irrelevant party, in particular its competitors.
Employees have to seek permission from the organisation before engaging in any additional work.
Employees who are found to be working without prior permission will subject themselves to disciplinary actions.
 
Why is it important for an organisation to have the Employee Code of Conduct?
• Sets a good example
Employees are the “live representation” of an organisation’s values and reputation therefore it is of utmost importance that employees behave in accordance with all the guidelines.

• Prevention is better than cure
Operating without the code of conduct opens the door to all sorts of behavioural problems. The organisation would have to spend time and effort to resolve the issues when all these could have been prevented right from the start. In the process of resolution, the employees’ morale might be affected and restoring broken morale would be another challenge that requires even more time and effort.

If you have employees who may not align perfectly with the organisation’s corporate values, the code of conduct ensures that the employees are aware of how they should conduct themselves – they now know what behaviours are not acceptable before they occur.

• Continue to achieve the business objectives
The last thing an organisation wants is disengaged employees who are no longer willing to devote passion and energy to your organisation, steering them away from achieving the business objectives.

• Objective handling

In cases of breach of conduct, assessing an employee’s behaviour becomes more objective and less ambiguous when the code of conduct is used as a reference point.
 
How should the policy be written?
Write it in consideration of the organisation’s values: how it wants to be perceived by external parties, and the type of business, clientele and vendors it deals with.
Cite examples of minor and gross misconduct to give a clearer picture of the definition and outcome of misconduct. Outcome of misconduct can include issuance of warning letters or even dismissal, depending on the severity of the action.
Have a set of procedures to administrate the policy. Procedures exist to guide the “enforcer” on the steps of enforcement and this leads to consistent and fair handling across the organisation. The enforcers can be the immediate supervisor, the department head, the division head, or the Human Resource department, etc.
 
Where can one find the Code of Conduct?
• Employees will be introduced to an organisation’s code of conduct on his first day of work, during induction.
• Most organisations have a set of very well-defined, written policies and procedures of code of conduct, often found in the HR Policies and Procedures Manual as well as the HR Policies Employee Handbook.
• It is good practice to frequently re-emphasise and remind all employees for compliance purpose
 
What are the examples of Employee Code of Conduct?
Policies on code of conduct can include the employees’ dress code, workplace harassment, grievance handling, and the handling of confidential information, etc.

Grievance Handling
• An organisation has to provide a legitimate channel for employees to address their grievances.
• Policy and procedure for grievance handling must be communicated to employees to encourage them to approach their immediate supervisor to have their concerns properly addressed.
• Immediate supervisors must be equipped with the right skillset to address the grievances of the employees and this can be achieved through training.

Confidentiality of Information and Permission to Engage in Additional Employment
Throughout the course of work, employees may gain access to the confidential or private information of the organisation.
An organisation would want to ensure that such confidential information will not be disclosed or communicated to any irrelevant party, in particular its competitors.
Employees have to seek permission from the organisation before engaging in any additional work.
• Employees who are found to be working without prior permission will subject themselves to disciplinary actions.
 
Why is it important for an organisation to have the Employee Code of Conduct?
• Sets a good example
Employees are the “live representation” of an organisation’s values and reputation therefore it is of utmost importance that employees behave in accordance with all the guidelines.

• Prevention is better than cure
Operating without the code of conduct opens the door to all sorts of behavioural problems. The organisation would have to spend time and effort to resolve the issues when all these could have been prevented right from the start. In the process of resolution, the employees’ morale might be affected and restoring broken morale would be another challenge that requires even more time and effort.

If you have employees who may not align perfectly with the organisation’s corporate values, the code of conduct ensures that the employees are aware of how they should conduct themselves – they now know what behaviours are not acceptable before they occur.
 
• Continue to achieve the business objectives
The last thing an organisation wants is disengaged employees who are no longer willing to devote passion and energy to your organisation, steering them away from achieving the business objectives.

• Objective handling
In cases of breach of conduct, assessing an employee’s behaviour becomes more objective and less ambiguous when the code of conduct is used as a reference point.
 
How should the policy be written?
Write it in consideration of the organisation’s values: how it wants to be perceived by external parties, and the type of business, clientele and vendors it deals with.
Cite examples of minor and gross misconduct to give a clearer picture of the definition and outcome of misconduct. Outcome of misconduct can include issuance of warning letters or even dismissal, depending on the severity of the action.
Have a set of procedures to administrate the policy. Procedures exist to guide the “enforcer” on the steps of enforcement and this leads to consistent and fair handling across the organisation. The enforcers can be the immediate supervisor, the department head, the division head, or the Human Resource department, etc.

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