What Makes An Ethics Code Effective?

A code and its standards should be based on underlying principles of good conduct, such as integrity, fairness, responsibility and care, to name a few. This basis may relate back to the company’s values and tie to what constitutes business success for the enterprise.

  • It must be inclusive (everyone participates, from senior management on down).
  • It must be valid (content is consistent with standard ethical principles).
  • It must be authentic (policies are enforced and values are reinforced in both word and deed)

A corporate code of ethics cannot prevent unethical behavior, but it can have an impact on employee decisions.

According to a study conducted by LRN, a company that helps business foster ethical corporate cultures, 82 percent of workers say that they apply their understanding of an ethical code on the job.

Generally, a code of ethics should include the six universal moral values, where you state that you expect an employee to be trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, kind and good citizens. Honorable mentions include adding that your business celebrates diversity, green practices, and proper dress codes.