18 of the Best Code of Conduct Examples

A great code of conduct is concise, easy to understand and reflects the values of an organization. Write or update your own code of conduct using these outstanding examples.

Posted by Adil Munim in on August 29th, 2017

What Makes a Great Code of Conduct?

A code of conduct defines how a company’s employees should act on a day-to-day basis. It reflects the organization’s daily operations, core values and overall company culture. As a result, every code of conduct is unique to the organization it represents. Yet many companies struggle with how to write a great code of conduct and, as a result, their codes fall short.

Check out The Complete Guide to a Hostile Work Environment in 2018 and learn how a code of conduct can save your company from legal and reputational trouble.

Writing a great code of conduct requires a thorough understanding of the company, its culture and vision. But no matter the company, all great codes of conduct share certain characteristics.

 

A great code of conduct is:

  • Written for the reader. It is easy to understand and doesn’t include any technical or legal jargon.
  • Comprehensive. It covers all important details that may impact the daily lives of employees and answers common questions that arise.
  • Supported by leadership. It has been acknowledged and approved by the company’s senior management team. This is often demonstrated in the form of a foreword written by the CEO or President.
  • Accessible. It is available to all employees, current investors and potential investors.
  • Visually appealing. It follows a style that is clean and reflective of the organization.

Below are 18 outstanding code of conduct examples that you can use to update or write your own.
(A ✓ denotes a particularly exceptional feature of the code of conduct)


Google

 

The Google Code of Conduct is readily available online. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has published the code of conduct under the investor relations section of its website for current and future stakeholders to review. Google emphasizes the values it maintains and outlines a variety of important factors throughout the code of conduct. The document clearly states who must adhere to the standards set forth and how misconduct will be addressed.

The code underscores the importance of speaking up and taking action against wrongdoing while complementing the scope of Google’s operations and culture. For example, one section of the code of conduct is dedicated to the company’s “Dog Policy” which the company suggests is key to its unique organizational culture.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized


Drafting a code of conduct can be time consuming. Download the free Code of Conduct Template to create your own code of conduct in less time.


The Coca-Cola Company

 

A quick glance at the Coca-Cola Code of Business Conduct reveals a clear, unifying theme: integrity. This theme acts as the foundation for every component of the code of conduct, including rules about the use of company assets, use of information, conflicts of interests and dealing with external stakeholders/partners. By embedding one of its core values into its code of conduct, Coca-Cola is able to demonstrate its strong commitment to the business standards it has developed.

The company’s code of conduct also includes addenda that outline necessary definitions, disciplinary action standards and additional resources that may benefit employees. Coca-Cola’s code of conduct is well organized and designed, easy to understand and comprehensive.

✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Great Situational Examples


The Hershey Company

 

Hershey’s Code of Conduct is attractive and appealing, drawing inspiration from the company’s line of chocolates. Beyond its visual appeal, however, this code of conduct is extremely well written and organized. The code specifies what it means to be part of the Hershey team and how each individual can contribute to the values of the organization by adhering to the standards of conduct.

The Hershey Company has also included several “What If?” scenarios throughout its code of conduct. These scenarios serve to help employees make decisions when confronting problems that range from reporting harassment to declining gifts from vendors. This code of conduct does an excellent job of promoting Hershey’s culture while clearly indicating how employees should act.

✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Great Situational Examples


Starbucks

 

The Starbucks Standards of Business Conduct begins by outlining the principles and values that Starbucks aims to uphold as a company. The document then dives into detailed descriptions of organizational expectations with respect to the work environment, business practices, intellectual property and community involvement. In many instances, the company indicates where or who employees can refer to for assistance or more information.

Starbucks’ code of conduct also answers several questions that employees can reference when facing uncertainty. These short Q&A sections help readers understand how they should act in certain situations and why that behavior reflects the standards created by Starbucks. Additionally, Starbucks has included a unique ethical decision-making framework to assist employees when they are faced with ethical dilemmas in the workplace.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Great Situational Examples
✓ FAQs


PepsiCo

 

PepsiCo’s Global Code of Conduct is an extensive document that covers a variety of topics including responsibilities of individual employees, respect in the workplace and responsibilities of the company to its shareholders. As a massive global entity, PepsiCo has ensured that its code of conduct is easy to understand (in several languages) and very clear in its expectations for employees.

As with any strong code of conduct, PepsiCo’s code has rooted its expectations in the core values of the organization. The company has also dedicated an entire section of the code to explaining how the code will be administered. This includes information on investigations related to misconduct and disciplinary actions the company may take. PepsiCo’s code of conduct also encourages employees to report bribery, violence or other misconduct by contacting the company’s hotline.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Great Examples and Definitions


A Code of Conduct is not the same as a Code of Ethics. Ethics expert Dr. Chris Bauer explains the difference between these two important documents. Watch the video here.


IKEA

 

IKEA’s Supplier Code of Conduct, IWAY, is designed to maintain a set of standards for the company’s current and potential suppliers. Following its trademark minimalist style, the code of conduct is concise, yet comprehensive. The document covers topics such as health and safety, wages and benefits, child labor and harassment. The code of conduct also provides clarification of terms that may be unclear and examples of concepts that may be misunderstood.

IWAY also provides references to additional documents, such as UN conventions and other IKEA policies, that employees can consult to gain a better understanding of IKEA’s approach.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized


Facebook

 

Facebook’s Code of Conduct is published on the company’s investor relations website and available for download as a PDF. Though it does not contain images or visuals, the code is simple, straightforward and easy to understand. It covers important topics including conflicts of interest, harassment, confidentiality and protection of user data.

Facebook also highlights that employees can report violations anonymously to sources that they feel comfortable speaking to, including their managers, the HR department, or the Legal Department. The code of conduct also includes links to the company’s whistleblower and complaint policy.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized


Microsoft

 

Like Coca-Cola, Microsoft’s Standards of Business Conduct have been drafted around one central theme: trust. The company emphasizes that trust is an important aspect of its operations, including with customers, governments, fellow employees, investors and representatives. The code of conduct also offers a process to help employees make difficult decisions that reflect Microsoft’s values and standards.

Microsoft provides its employees with a visually appealing and easy-to-read document that is reflective of the organization’s values. The company highlights that the responsibilities covered in the code of conduct apply to all employees of the company, including directors, executives and members of the Board of Directors.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing


Johnson & Johnson

 

Johnson & Johnson has a detailed and easy-to-follow Code of Business Conduct for employees. The code outlines the expectations that employees must meet and even provides a checklist of responsibilities that can be used as a reference. Additionally, the company’s code of conduct provides examples of situations that require decision-making to help employees do the right thing when faced with problems that could result in misconduct.

Johnson & Johnson’s comprehensive code of conduct includes information on anti-bribery laws, anti-trust laws, global trade compliance, fair purchasing, animal welfare, non-discrimination and even use of social media.

✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Great Situational Examples


Procter & Gamble

 

Procter & Gamble’s Worldwide Business Conduct Manual outlines the company’s basic values while also describing the organization’s approach to appropriate conduct. The code of conduct is prefaced by the company’s PVPs (purpose, values and principles). The visual aspects of this code of conduct, including loads of color and icons, make it easy and fun to read.

The code covers a variety of topics related to P&G’s operations, including compliance with legal requirements, appropriate behavior in the workplace, money laundering and commercial rights.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing


Unilever

 

Unilever’s Code of Business Principles and Code Policies is comprehensive and easy to understand. The document discusses the company’s values and defines the organization’s approach when combatting corruption, engaging with external stakeholders, working with other people and protecting company information.

Within each section of the code, Unilever has included lists of “Musts” and “Must Nots” that employees can refer to for clarification about the company’s expectations.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing


IBM

 

The Business Conduct Guidelines created by IBM provide employees with a clear understanding of the expectations of their employer. This code of conduct is grounded in the company’s guiding principles and provides detailed explanations with examples.

IBM also includes several “Integrity Tips” to help employees make the right decisions in a variety of situations. Additionally, the company provides links to several additional resources and policies that may be helpful to employees and investors.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing


General Motors

 

The General Motors (GM) Code of Conduct is comprehensive yet easy to understand. It is clearly worded, with simple explanations. The code specifies who it applies to, how it will be upheld and the expectations set for employees. GM uses the term “we” throughout their code of conduct to ensure that all employees, including senior managers and directors, are held to the same standard.

The GM code of conduct includes a decision-making model that employees can follow when facing ethical dilemmas. The company has also included several short Q&A sections to explain how employees should act when they are in certain situations. The code of conduct provides links to several additional policies and resources, such as the company’s ethics hotline.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing


Toyota

 

Toyota’s Code of Conduct is brief but covers a variety of important topics. The company prefaces the code with its guiding principles and then explains how it approaches internal activities, such as R&D and procurement, and external activities, such as philanthropy and government relations.

For each section of the code of conduct, Toyota outlines which of its guiding principles played a role in the formation of that section. Additionally, the company has clearly indicated what it views as acceptable or unacceptable behavior.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized


General Electric

 

The Spirit and Letter is General Electric’s (GE) code of conduct and an excellent reference for employees and investors. The document outlines who is responsible for following the code and how they should adhere to the guidelines created by the organization. The document is organized into brief points rather than lengthy paragraphs, making it very easy to read.

The GE code of conduct summarizes the company’s policies and then discusses the role of employees with respect to those policies. Employees are provided a clear understanding of the correct procedure to follow in various situations.

✓ Concise
✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Great Examples and Definitions


Ford Motor Company

 

Ford’s Code of Conduct is clear, detailed and comprehensive. Each section is broken into two key components. The first is a quick overview of the relevant policy and the second is a summary of the requirements for employees under that policy. The code also mentions additional resources and documents that contain greater detail.

The organization of Ford’s code of conduct makes it easy to read and understand. It covers a variety of topics that may affect employees, including the use of company assets, product quality and safety, intellectual property and international business practices.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized


Nokia

 

Nokia’s Code of Conduct is a detailed and thorough document. It highlights key policies that all employees should be familiar with. Each section of the code of conduct also provides employees with a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are and red flags that may arise in different situations.

This easy-to-understand document is focused on helping employees make the best choices based on the company’s values. The company has also provided a clear description of reporting processes, retaliation policies and corrective action policies.

✓ Well Organized
✓ Visually Appealing
✓ Dedicated Mobile App (iOS and Android)


AstraZeneca

 

The AstraZeneca Code of Conduct is a clear and detailed guide to employee behavior. It begins by outlining who is responsible for adhering to the code, why the code is important and the consequences of inappropriate actions. The code of conduct also provides the process employees can use to report violations or raise concerns.

Each section of the code offers quick reference tips that provide employees with a clear list of actions that are appropriate or expected. Additionally, AstraZeneca has provided definitions for several terms to prevent any misunderstandings.

✓ Concise
✓ Well Organized


Adil Munim
Adil Munim

Marketing Writer

Adil is the marketing writer at i-Sight. He writes on topics that range from fraud, corporate security and workplace investigations to corporate culture, ethics and compliance.

Want to conduct better investigations?

Sign up for i-Sight’s newsletter and get new articles, templates, CE eligible webinars and more delivered to your inbox every week.