I was travelling last week and heard the words of an old Crosby, Stills and Nash song that says “You who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by”. It was interesting to reflect on this because lately, it seems to me there are many people who do not appear to have any kind of code they live by. In our workplace we daily come into contact with a variety of people and if they have no code or moral compass to “guide them” it can have adverse consequences for those they work or come into contact with. Without going into the reasons why this might be so, (they are many and varied I am sure), I thought rather about the reasons why we need to live and work by a code. I checked the definition of code, or moral code, as in the meaning in the song, and found this definition: “a written, formal, and consistent set of rules prescribing righteous behaviour, accepted by a person or by a group of people”. In our life experience we understand that when a group of people work together or play sport together, there is a need to have a code or set of rules to ensure that each person, regardless of their own values, moral code, or lack thereof, can participate fairly and be treated with respect. It is also typical, within the code, to have an expected required behaviour that is considered acceptable. This helps to ensure harmony is maintained within the group.
For these reasons, it is vitally important for an organisation to have a Code of Conduct. We can no longer assume people come into the workplace understanding the “rules” or having a moral code as they may have had in the past. The Code of Conduct gives the core values of the organisation and defines the manner in which employees should act in order to comply with its core values. The Code of Conduct should describe the behaviour required. When this is in place, managers can use it to ensure staff are displaying acceptable conduct and behaviour.
Does your workplace have a code of conduct? I am interested to know how having a code to live and/or work by has been of benefit to you?
We do have a code of conduct and it is a great document that provides guidelines around acceptable workplace behaviour and how to interact with colleagues. I think a code of conduct benefits everyone as it provides boundaries and expectations so everyone is on the same page and is acting accordingly.
We do have a code of conduct that lists expected behaviours, ethical standards and sets out the requirement to adhere to the code of conduct and the response that will occur if an employee acts outside it. We have an annual course we need to complete to demonstrate our awareness of it.
Many codes I have read from various workplaces seem common sense, often restating what is generally expected by the wider community anyway. Good behavioural traits, acting honestly, acting with good ethics and in the interest of the company all seem common sense. Publishing a company code of conduct provides accountability and a way of taking action should an employee not comply.
Having a personal code of conduct that meets or exceeds a company code, not only ensures you abide by the requirements of your workplace, but are also able to meet new situations in your life in general and then, based on your experience and evolving code of conduct, respond appropriately.
In the long run I think this makes life easier and more manageable, as we develop and hopefully act to produce cooperation and good relationships rather than any other outcome.
My workplace has a code of conduct that we must abide to, and the code of conduct is not only for the workplace but as a public citizen that works for Government. The minimum moral standard is set by laws, and if you breach those moral standards than you will face the consequences through a court of law. my standards may not reflect my workplace, therefore I do not share them in a public setting. This prevents me from bringing my organisation into disrepute.
My workplace does have a code of conduct and a set of five values we must live by in our roles. My personal code is a very simple one- ‘Be good, be kind, be careful’. This combined with being true to myself and true to my word allows me to feel that I have everyone’s best interests at heart. I believe having a code as a guideline has been of great benefit to me in dealing with life’s challenges, as it acts like a minimum standard against which to judge my personal behaviour. Having grown up in an isolated area with parents whose relationship was very volatile, I realised quickly that I would need to develop a strong code to live by so I could hold my held up and be proud.