How to Develop a Professional Code of Ethics

Professional codes of conduct and professional codes of ethics contain principles, values and guidelines that can be used to guide behavior and decision making in organizations. Companies and professional associations use codes of ethics to set standards and expectations for socially acceptable behaviors. A code of ethics also integrates values, norms and rules into the organization’s culture. It ensures that all employees adhere to the required professional standards in their official duties.

However, a professional code of ethics takes time and effort to create and implement. There must be a good plan and involvement of all employees in the process. This ensures that the values incorporated into the code are acceptable and relevant to the organization. A carefully drafted code of ethics promotes positive work relationships, leading to improved commitment and productivity of employees.

In this article, we discuss how to develop a code of ethics. The article highlights a step-by-step process of developing and implementing an effective code of ethics in an organizational context. The process is generalized so that it may be implemented in any type of organization or work environment.

Step 1: Establish the goals and purpose of the professional code of ethics

It is necessary first and foremost to determine why you need a code of ethics, if you need it; of course you need it. For example, the purpose of the code could be to guide behavior, inspire employees to develop a moral character, or to improve the company’s reputation. In this step, the organization will also identify the priorities and values that should be included in the code.

Step 2: Creating a code of ethics committee

Once you know your purpose, expectations, and priorities, you should identify individuals to write the code of ethics. These individuals should include employees, experts, and managers in various levels of the organization. The ethical committee is responsible for the documentation of the code and communicating its purpose to employees.

Step 3: Collect employees’ input

Employee’s participation at the creation stage is necessary to ensure that the code reflects their needs and interests. Employees also need to understand why code of ethics is important, and what it should entail. Their involvement also ensures that they support the code of ethics, and that they will take it as part of their culture in the workplace. The ethics committee should therefore collect feedback and opinions from employees when drafting the code of ethics.

Step 4: Select an ethical or compliance officer

This should be the responsibility of the ethics committee. The committee should select a person who is responsible for the enforcement of the code of ethics. This person should be in charge of applying the professional code of ethics in the workplace. He or she should be reliable, committed, and responsible. They should also have good interpersonal skills and must be concerned about the long term success and sustainability of the organization..

Step 5: Monitoring and Evaluation

The compliance officer should also be responsible for monitoring and reporting misconduct. He or she can update the document from time to time as situations change with the approval of the top management. The officer can also recommend employees who demonstrate exemplary ethical behavior for rewards during performance appraisal.

There you go…that’s how to create an effective code of ethics.

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