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Why Your Code Must Be Your Ultimate Policy

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Why Your Code Must Be Your Ultimate Policy

I recently had an opportunity to participate in a discussion about what the next generation Code of Conduct looks like and why organizations should care. This topic has been brought up by many organizations that I interact with – and it will continue to surprise you how many organizations have not kept their ultimate policy, the Code, updated.

Along with fellow thought leaders from the industry and the Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG), we discussed how Codes should be modernized, what to think about when you revise it, and to measure if it has been effective. Of all the many ways the Code can be modernized, there continues to be a shortage of one key viewpoint: keeping the employee in mind. That means engaging the employee with not only a great document, but with Code of Conduct training that is appealing, relevant and memorable.

Unlike most policies, the Code is the most “marketable” of the corporate policies. The Code sets out to inspire behaviors and define the culture. For many large organizations, the Code is as much for the public (and investors) as it is for the employees. And while Codes are typically crafted for greater visual appeal, with much more imagery and color, they still have not caught up to the times. Too often, a Code is rolled out to the workforce without any Code of Conduct training to support it and drive retention.

Today, employees do not consume information by reading a pamphlet. With the continued proliferation and growth of tablets and mobile platforms, our preferred delivery of information has changed. Imagery is no longer enough. Interactive content has become the norm. Videos, infographics, games – even simple swiping gestures – have become standard. So why should the most inspirational policy, the Code of Conduct, be relegated to a PDF?

Even if you have one of the greatest Codes in the world, I would urge you to look at it in terms of how you train your employees on it. You should offer Code of Conduct training that answers questions like: Why does our company have a Code? Who must comply with it? What happens if the Code is violated? What is my responsibility in terms of reporting misconduct?

In your busy compliance activities, make sure to find time to revisit your Code as well as your Code of Conduct training. Your Code and training set the tone for all other policies and will help you continue to adapt your culture as your organization grows. Take a look at the OCEG Illustration for some additional thoughts about the various stages of managing the Code, and read the article from Compliance Week that includes the roundtable discussion. Then join us for our webinar on Thursday, January 23 at 1:00pm ET.

I’d love to hear how your organization is taking your Code into the next generation and how you are delivering your Code of Conduct training, so please send me an email.

About the Author

Jimmy Lin, VP, Product Management & Corporate Development. Jimmy leads corporate and product strategies for The Network’s Integrated GRC Solutions. He has over 14 years experience in and around software and technology, from implementing software to analyzing new markets and leading product strategies. Jimmy is a Certified GRC Professional (GRCP). Connect with Jimmy on LinkedIn
Awards & Certifications 2013 GRC 20/20 Technology Innovation Award 2013 TAG Top 40 Innovative Company 2012 IABC Gold Quill Award 2012 MarCom Award We self-certify compliance Safe Harbor Safe Harbor Certification SOC 2 Certification