Developing an Office Code of Ethics

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Developing an Office Code of Ethics
When people who belong to a particular group ascribe to the same code of ethics, it helps to build community and loyalty based on shared values. Are you prepared to move your workplace to a higher level?
In this session, you’ll learn about developing a code of ethics for the office and consider some helpful examples.
Are You Ready?
If you choose to develop an office code of ethics, it must be more than just a statement on the wall. It must truly be a code that you do business by. You must be prepared to change some of the ways you do business. You must be prepared to commit to those ethics for a code to succeed. You must be willing to look for staff who commit to these ethics.
A code of ethics, when properly implemented and followed, can have the following benefits.
Happier employees. A code of ethics can relieve tremendous pressure on employees by giving them a moral compass that they can make decisions by.
More consistent decisions. If everyone knows the company standard of right and wrong and commits to it, decisions made within the company are more likely to be consistent.
More committed employees. As we discussed this morning, an ethical office environment will likely produce more committed, loyal employees. A properly implemented code of ethics can help an office become more ethical.
In summary, when developing an office code of ethics, make sure you and your company are prepared to live by it. Make sure input is obtained from everyone, even if it’s just through a survey. And make sure people are committed to it; otherwise it’s just another piece of paper on the wall.
Sample Codes of Ethics
The Ten Commandments

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image­ – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

Rotary Four-Way Test
Of the things we think, say, or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Minnesota Principles
Proposition # 1: Stimulating economic growth is the particular contribution of business to the larger society.
We understand that profits are fundamental to the fulfillment of this function.
Proposition #2: Business activities must be characterized by fairness.
We understand fairness to include equitable treatment and equality of opportunity for all participants in the marketplace.
Proposition #3: Business activities must be characterized by honesty.
We understand honesty to include candor, truthfulness, and promise-keeping.
Proposition #4: Business activities must be characterized by respect for human dignity.
We understand this to mean that business activities should show a special concern for the less powerful and the disadvantaged.
Proposition #5: Business activities must be characterized by respect for the environment.
We understand this to mean that business activities should promote sustainable development and prevent environmental degradation and waste of resources.
Bank Ethical Principles
Uncompromising Integrity: Doing the “right thing” without compromise for our customers, suppliers, and shareholders – even when circumstances make it difficult. We are clear, truthful, and accurate in what we say and do.
Respect: Treating one another with respect and dignity; appreciating the diversity of our workforce, our customers, and our communities.
Responsibility: Taking accountability for ethical decisions and actions; asking for clarification when necessary and reporting concerns or violations in the workplace.
Good Citizenship: Complying with the spirit and intent of the laws that govern our business; contributing to the strength and wellbeing of our communities and shareholders.
Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law