We cannot talk about an ethics management system without the document that governs it: the Code of Ethics (or Code of Conduct). This establishes what are the guidelines of the organization in this matter, and what is expected from the actions of the collaborators when it comes to ethics.
Is there a perfect Code of Ethics formula? No, there is not. This document must be unique for each organization: for its industry, its size, its main risks, its organizational culture, among others.
Recall that the nature of the business will have a strong impact on those issues on which the code should deal, as well as the interest groups with which the organization relates (and if it is in a regulated sector or not). As an example, while a banking company should place a lot of emphasis on the confidentiality of information, a construction company should focus on its relationship with suppliers.
In this regard, we provide the following recommendations to develop this document, which should be:
- Concise: a very extensive code will not be read fully by the contributors
- Friendly: the wording should not be very technical, otherwise, it will discourage reading.
- Participatory: prior to writing the document, it is recommended to include the collaborators of the organization in the identification of the risks.
- Aligned: must respond and be aligned with the values promoted as an organization
It is important to highlight, at the same time, that Senior Management must commit to this, both in its creation process, as well as its dissemination and implementation.