Earlier today we discussed Tyco’s Ethics Recovery and mentioned the Tyco Guide to Ethical Conduct. There are 4 main features of their document that we really like, and are easy for any company to implement into their own code of ethics. Below is a sample taken from their Guide to Ethical Conduct to give you a better picture of why Tyco’s guide is getting our praise.
1. Making Their Mission Clear
Tyco clearly states the mission of the company regarding each element included in their code of ethics. In this particular example- the harassment-free workplace, Tyco makes a statement about their stance on harassment in the workplace.
2. Explaination of Prohibited Actions- In an Easy to Read Format!
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Below the mission is the explanation of exactly what behaviours are prohibited. One of the things I find set this code of ethics apart from many that I have read is the readability and “use of plain English” to communicate the code of ethics to all Tyco employees. We are always encouraged to understand our audience and speak in a language they can relate to- in this case, Tyco cut out all of the “legal speak”- making it clearer for employees to understand what is expected of them to comply with the code of ethics. This is important for reducing the level of confusion or lack of understanding by employees in order to understand what is actually expected of them.
3. Providing Examples
In the margins, Tyco uses the space to provide employees with real life examples of situations that could take place at work that are deemed unacceptable. In this particular example, situations are shown that demonstrate different types of workplace harassment. By providing examples that employees can relate to, or may have experienced before, they can develop a better understanding of what actions are unacceptable and what to avoid at work. It also allows them to recognize different types of harassment, that way they can be reported if there are employees that are going against the code of ethics.
4. Important Notes
The highlighted area- Tyco makes it clear that their ethics code goes beyond the walls of Tyco, extending to outside vendors and other providers to Tyco. Tyco addresses that the policy prohibiting harassment is still in place at activities that are outside of work. These two points are very important to make, as the blurring of work related activities that happen on and off of work sites makes it difficult to determine if an employee can report a specific incident- Tyco makes their decision easy, if anything happens at work or away from work at a related function, let us know. The Tyco Guide to Ethical Conduct is laid out in an easy to read format, full of examples that makes it easier for employees to want to read and to understand what is expected of them as a Tyco employee. Some of the features and lay out that have been used in this particular code of ethics are elements that could be used to improve your current code of ethics or give you some insight as to making the code of ethics more engaging for your employees.