If you want to be a start-up with staying power and a vibrant work culture, you have to put measures in place to encourage and ensure that everyone sows the seeds of good workplace conduct. Only then will your company reap the benefits of longevity and low-attrition. What is a Code of Conduct? A Code of Conduct policy is a set of rules and expectations with respect to an employee’s workplace ethics and behaviour, both as an individual and as a member of the larger office community. Some experts argue that it isn’t necessary to have an actual document stating these rules, since the trick is to foster a culture that doesn’t require a manual’s intervention to remind people of appropriate conduct. However, a Code of Conduct can also be construed as a document that communicates a company’s core vision and values. Before writing a Code of Conduct then, it is critical that companies figure out what type of conduct they wish to encourage and enshrine in a rule- book. Core values and Codes of Conduct The workplace is where most of us spend the bulk of our adult lives. What kind of workplace then do we wish to inhabit? A holistically successful company doesn’t believe that the ends justify the means. In other words, it doesn’t assume that meeting deadlines and completing work regardless of the toll it takes on employees, is an adequate measure of success. Here are some examples of core values that companies might choose to cultivate, in order to thrive both internally (at the office) and externally (on the market).
- Generosity of effort: An office where people respond with an offer of help when necessary, instead of jealously guarding/refusing to stray from their strongholds.
- Mutual respect: Treating other individuals with the same respect that you expect to be treated with, and addressing problems directly, and without hostility.
- Being actively non-discriminatory: Refusing to treat a person poorly because of their gender, age, race, or sexuality.
- Transparency: A commitment to communicating clearly and directly with employees as well as clients.
- Humility: Acknowledging errors of execution, instead of trying to shift the blame to others, or refusing to address them.
- Appreciation: Studies have shown that employees value positive feedback and a show of appreciation for their hard work, more than they do a raise. While one is not a substitute for the other, both carry tremendous weight.
Once you have a clear sense of what your core values and beliefs are, you will be able to actually practice them. Writing them down will then be a way of celebrating what already exists, instead of a mandate or reminder to implement something that doesn’t.