HOW TO WRITE THE BEST PROFESSIONAL CODE OF ETHICS AND TEMPLATE

Learn how to write the best professional code of ethics and template. The best Code of Ethics template. Do not start from scratch.

Written by Mau, a Senior business consultant and marketing specialist at eDigital.

HOW TO WRITE THE BEST PROFESSIONAL CODE OF ETHICS AND TEMPLATE

Designing an effective Code of Ethics document is the first step in the path of building key ethical principles and moral values within your organisation’s culture.

A well-crafted professional code of ethics will help your team produce exemplary work and great actions and aid the decision-making when dealing with daily ethical dilemmas and/or corrosive/toxic people.

In Aug 2021, one of the world’s top 25 sports athletes on Instagram announced his departure from his Football Club, Barcelona FC. In tears, Lionel Messi told the media audience:

I grew up with the club’s values wearing the Barca shirt around the world with humbleness and respect and I want to be remembered for that far more than what we achieved. I am grateful for the career I had in Barcelona, the titles and the losses that helped me grow

Lionel Messi

Did Leo Messi live and breathe Barcelona FC’s code of ethics and values? Are Barcelona FC values a key influence for the great results of this popular football team and organisation?

At some stage of your organisation’s journey – you will need to decide on some key ethical principles and values that will guide the actions and behaviour of your employees/members and you are about to read how to define your code of ethics, craft your document and present it to your team.

BUILDING AN ETHICAL CULTURE

What does the below palm tree have to do with a code of ethics?

Many plants go through the process of defoliation and refoliation in order to survive and grow.

The same applies to human systems (organisations).

You may not be able to grow an ethical culture – within an organisation –  if you do not carefully go through the process of defoliation first.

Getting rid of the old leaves (destructive and damaging behaviour and actions) becomes imperative when building a healthy space (work environment, KPIs, business objectives) with the right tools (code of ethics) for exemplary behaviour.

cycas media qld australia defoliation

Cycas media Qld Australia defoliation. Photo: Mau Copyrights © 2023

“When building an ethical culture, it may be necessary to review the actions and omissions of those corrosive and toxic members of your team. Especially of those in a position of authority, power or leadership. Even great people – sometimes – behave badly and you may decide to either remove them, penalise them or offer them a second chance for improvement. The option you take can be an ethical dilemma and surely you will need to carefully deal with it”

Mau

One of the best ways to get closer to extraordinary results is to develop a code of ethics that plants the seeds for the culture you want and the level of trust you want to build in all your business relations.

A professional code of ethics is designed and established to promote and maintain the highest professional conduct among employees or members of an organisation. Employees or members are expected to adhere to specific fundamental principles through responsible self-regulation.

The organisational leaders creating and promoting a professional code of ethics are committed to leading and supporting their employees/members, their community of providers, clients and partners and their industry in general to grow and thrive.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A must-have template

This code of ethics template was an essential tool for our organisation. It offered a well-designed taxonomy that helped us write our first “code of ethics” document. It’s an absolute must-have for any company.

Chris  D. Verified user

WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL CODE OF ETHICS?

A business code of ethics is a guide that contains the ethical do’s and don’ts and serves as a checklist on what you and your team should do.

WRITING CODE OF ETHICS – PURPOSE

A purposeful business code of ethics or a professional code of conduct establishes an environment of commitment in an organisation. It not only lays down a strong cultural foundation for the business but also helps companies enforce and implement legal as well as ethical policies and procedures for all kinds of decision-making.

A well-written and curated code of ethics can build trust between the organisation and a variety of stakeholders affected by its actions including employees, suppliers, customers, partners, the government and the general public.

An effective code of ethics establishes the employees’ values that drive their actions and the principles that underlie decision-making.

A professionally written code of conduct becomes the most important part of the company’s ethical framework.

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NPR ethics code N’Jeri Eaton last day tweet proud of colleagues

NPR ethics code N’Jeri Eaton last day tweet proud of colleagues

WHO NEEDS A CODE OF ETHICS DOCUMENT?

All companies and organisations with employees should have a “Code of Ethics” document that is easily accessible.

Even good people who – sometimes – may behave badly can be guided by a clear and cohesive “Code of Ethics” document.

For example, employee awareness and understanding of a well-crafted “Code of ethics” document can be a powerful tool to stop an executive make public racial or derogatory comments about an employee, customer or partner.

On a similar note, a “Code of Ethics” document can be used by a team of executives to decide whether to pay or not a hacker to give back stolen sensitive information/data.

Companies that especially benefit from having a well-written professional code of ethics document include:

  • Advertising associations and media companies. Especially how to “ethically” present marketing executions and ads to the general public. For example, the depiction of minors in advertisements is a common issue when not having a code of ethics document.
  • Banking, insurance and financial advisors. Especially publicly listed banks claiming they’re reducing emissions while continuing to finance companies expanding coal, oil and gas production. (An unethical marketing issue called greenwashing)
  • Education providers: universities, colleges and schools
  • Gambling and betting: online gambling, sports betting, etc.
  • Government departments, government agencies, councils and supreme courts.
  • Home builders. Especially in the area of sourcing materials that last and do not harm the health of residents.
  • Medical services: doctors, nurses and pharmacies.
  • Military and police departments. Especially in the area of protecting the right of civilians to peacefully protest.
  • Non-profits and museums: especially in the area of how to “ethically” fundraise.
  • Real estate agents (realtors) especially how to “ethically” deal with alternative groups of people: LGBTQUIA+ and disadvantaged communities.
  • Sports teams. Especially in the area of anti-doping practices.

THE TOP BENEFITS OF A CODE OF ETHICS DOCUMENT

A few advantages of having a written code of ethics for your organisation are:

  • It enhances the company’s core values and beliefs and sets the right culture
  • Builds a reputation of the company in the market
  • Keeps the company and its employees from violating laws and regulations
  • Fosters an environment of trust and ethical behaviour

A business code of conduct should never be thought of as a burden to the company. It is the ground on which the company sets its foundation and the better the code of ethics and its implementation, the better the company will do.

A well-written code of ethics also keeps your business or organisation on track as it is directly linked to their decision-making skills.

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YOUR CODE OF ETHICS ON THE WALL – AN EXAMPLE

In this video (minute 43:50) Andy Robertson, a popular Liverpool football player remembers in the Melwood (the old Liverpool training facility) changing room, there was a famous manager’s quote that reads:

“I want a young player that can nutmeg someone in training but then hold the door open for them”

These types of quotes set on a wall (where anyone can easily read them) set the tone of your code of ethics and leadership style in your organisation.

The above quote, for example, demonstrates the football club is open to letting a player fully express their talent on the training pitch – which may sometimes produce feelings of embarrassment, humility or humiliation to another teammate; – as long as the player can also demonstrate acts of respect to the same shamed player.

CODE OF ETHICS TEMPLATE – WHAT YOU GET

  • A professional “easy to use” template.
  • A list of the most popular principles used by the top ethical organisations.
  • A prepopulated ethical principle diagram to map out your code
  • A communications plan to promote your code of ethics within your organisation
  • A survey template to find out the top principles your employees/members want to follow within your organisation.
ethical principles diagram

ethical principles diagram

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GET YOUR CODE OF ETHICS TEMPLATE – STEPS

Once you complete payment on Paypal, click on “Go back to merchant” to be redirected to the page where you will find the template.

code of ethics template

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Best Template

We enjoyed using this template as a guide for our new Code of Ethics. The template made us think about ethical elements we did not consider before. I would recommend it. Thank you. 

Jen D. Verified user

APPLICATION OF A CODE OF ETHICS

One of the most important considerations in developing a code of ethics is to assure that all employees/members have general knowledge, at least, of the code’s contents and intention.

Oftentimes this means more than just posting it or filing it away never to be seen or discussed again.

Organisations that truly seek to instil ethical practices in the code must do more.

Successful codes of ethics enable employees to see just how the provisions relate to their practices in the workplace, and ethical training sessions are the best way to accomplish this goal.

An effective code also addresses what to do if an employee believes someone in the organization is violating the code.

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BUILD AN ETHICAL CULTURE WITH YOUR CODE OF ETHICS

Once you have written your code of ethics, you can apply some of the below ideas to help build an ethical culture around all actions taken by your employees/members.

  • Consider an annual code of ethics review session. Each department would prepare a presentation for fellow workers about what a part of the code means in that department and what needs to be done differently in the future.
  • Role-playing can engage employees and get them to identify with the code. Role-play scenarios would depict relationships and dilemmas that might arise in the workplace and how they should be handled.
  • Offer a way of reporting wrongdoing and violations of the code of ethics in an anonymous manner. Some companies use hotlines; others have an ombudsman.
  • Appoint someone to oversee compliance with the code to ensure employees’ concerns will be taken seriously. In some organisations, there is a vice president of business conduct or ethics, and in some, the human resources department takes care of these matters.
  • Find ways to reward departments that put their ethical principles into practice. Develop a system to reward ethical behaviour and punish unethical conduct.

Doing the right thing should offer its reward.

However, in business environments, you may want to create a system/program that acknowledges or rewards great ethical actions by your employees/members.

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OBJECTIVES WHEN WRITING A CODE OF ETHICS 

A well-written and professionally curated code of ethics aims to:

  • Act as a detailed description of what is the most ethical behaviour expected out of an organisation/business employees/members.
  • Encourage employees/members to help raise social, ethical and business standards of an organisation and industry
  • Strengthen the competitive edge of employees/members of an organisation by assuring customers and suppliers that they have the right to always expect the highest standards from their employees or members
  • Encourage employees/members in the pursuit of excellence and promote their organisation’s reputation.

Applicability adherence to a code of ethics can be made a requirement for employees, members or corporate entities. Employees or members are expected to apply the Code of Ethics based on responsibility, character and professionalism.

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POPULAR PRINCIPLES OF ETHICS – EXAMPLES

With so many ethical principles, organisation leaders have to carefully cherry-pick the most important ethical values they want all employees/members to adopt.

Some of the most popular ethical principles are:

INTEGRITY

Exemplify industry leadership by acting straightforwardly and honestly in all professional and business relationships. Always consider the consequences of actions by accomplishing business objectives in a manner that causes the least harm and the greatest positive good.

PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOUR

Comply with the relevant laws and regulations by avoiding any conduct that may discredit the organisation.

FAIRNESS

Act reasonably in public business by striving to be fair and respect the legitimate prosperity of other employees/members.

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CARING

Demonstrate genuine care and respect for human dignity by treating all people with equal respect and dignity regardless of gender, race or origin.

COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

Protect your industry and business standards by supporting positive ethical models that favour consumer confidence.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Useful template

I did not know how to draft a Code of Ethics document. This template was really useful! It saved us tons of time. Thank you. 

Eli M. Verified user

ETHICS AND MARKETING

When it comes to businesses, brands and marketing, consumers are experiencing a leap from just marketing messages to ethical actions. Today’s consumers expect and demand actions from brands that serve their communities. Consumers believe businesses should support the same ethical values they believe in.

What became clear during the pandemic is that this more human approach is both rewarding and rewarded.

Consider the work of the London-based fashion brand We Are We Wear. An ethical brand that champions body diversity as well as sustainability. The labels’ swimwear pieces and styles are available in sizes XS to 3XL. The eco-edit range is made in Italy from unwanted waste materials such as fishing nets and industrial plastics.

Conclusion

People’s expectation that brands take ethical actions is not going to go away anytime soon.

Every business today needs to measure the value of its work not only in terms of shareholder value (profits, market capitalisation) but also in terms of the social value it delivers to people.

eDigital can help you conceptualise, plan, develop, run and optimise successful digital marketing campaigns that generate leads and sales for your brand.

Our digital marketing services include:

  • Strategic planning for social media and other digital marketing channels.
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  • Celebrity and influencer marketing campaign strategy.
  • Brand development. Logo creation, brand personality development and design of marketing materials.
  • Consumer contests/competitions/giveaways.
  • Email marketing. Dip sequence design and deployment.
  • Conversion rate optimisation. It is also called “path to purchase” optimisation.

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HOW TO WRITE THE BEST PROFESSIONAL CODE OF ETHICS AND TEMPLATE

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