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?