Code of conduct training is one of the essential elements of a comprehensive ethics and compliance program. Especially in light of new workplace realities and business challenges, code of conduct training plays an important role in communicating an organization’s mission, core values and behavior expectations, and fostering a healthy work culture in which employees share a collective sense that ‘we’re all in this together.’
Further, training all employees and managers on your code of conduct underscores the importance of driving ethical behavior across the organization, at every level and location, and ensuring that everyone knows how to recognize and handle ethical issues they may encounter.
Fundamentals of Effective Code of Conduct Training
Inspires the right behaviors. Creating a strong ethical culture is more than establishing rules and regulation — it’s about sharing values and motivating employees to act with honesty, integrity, respect and inclusion. Effective ethics training focuses on behaviors, clearly showing what is acceptable and unacceptable and demonstrating how policies, procedures, laws and regulations apply to employees’ everyday work. While promoting positive behavior, code of conduct training also addresses the serious consequences of ignoring potential risks and engaging in misconduct.
Raises awareness of ethical issues
Code of conduct training increases awareness of a wide range of ethical and legal issues in the workplace, such as conflicts of interest, bribery and corruption, insider trading, data privacy, information security, diversity and inclusion and social media use. Effective training puts these topics into relatable situations, reinforcing the message that rules and policies apply to all employees, whether they are onsite or working in a remote or hybrid environment.
Encourages employees to speak up. Providing code of conduct training is part of fostering a speak-up culture, where people feel safe raising issues and concerns, and care about each other and the organization. Ethics training should include information about how and where to report unethical or illegal activity and reassure employees that if they report misconduct it won’t lead to retaliation.
Addresses workplace changes. Just as a written code of conduct should be reviewed on a regular basis, training content needs to stay fresh and up to date with changes in the workplace and new policies, requirements and developments that are important to the organization. Ethics training should also be aligned with diversity training, anti-harassment/anti-discrimination training and other topics that help organizations foster a respectful, inclusive workplace.
Reflects the organization’s culture and brand. Effective code of conduct training should be unique to the organization, reflecting its visual brand and work environment and supported with a personalized CEO video, sending a strong message that creating an ethical work culture is a priority and everyone’s responsibility.
In today’s challenging work environment, providing code of conduct training for all employees and managers is an important way for leaders to promote the organization’s core values, principles and expectations for behavior, provide practical guidance for making the right decisions when choices are not clear cut and empowering individuals to speak up whenever they see or suspect wrongdoing.
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