Clarifying an organization’s mission, values, and guiding principles and connecting them to standards of professional conduct is the goal of a well-written code of conduct. The code defines the desired behavior by outlining the values the organization wants to instill in its leaders and staff. Written codes of conduct or ethics can therefore be used as benchmarks to compare the performance of individuals and organizations.
A code also serves as a central reference point for staff members to assist in daily decision-making. A code of conduct promotes ethical discourse and compliance, enabling staff to deal with moral quandaries they face on the job. It can also be a helpful reference, guiding staff members toward pertinent materials, offerings, and other resources pertaining to ethics within the company.
Importance of code of ethics
Why a code of ethics is important
It is important to have a code of ethics because you can refer to it for guidance if you are ever unsure of what is morally appropriate to do. Maintaining awareness of your code of ethics as you come across everyday situations where you need to make an ethical decision can be made easier by regularly reviewing and refreshing it.
A personal code of ethics can help you act legally and safely while also demonstrating to others that you are a moral person who upholds certain values. These are qualities that can benefit you in a number of ways throughout your career and your life, including in partnerships and work environments. You can establish more trusting relationships with those around you by acting morally.
A code of ethics aids you in identifying your core values so that you can better understand what you want from both your personal and professional life. Finding a job that fits with your values can be aided by having a personal code of ethics. Companies are increasingly creating their own codes of ethics to provide their employees with additional guidance. You can contrast what is significant to you with what is significant to a potential employer if you have your own personal code of ethics.
What is a code of ethics?
A code of ethics serves as a guide for how you should conduct yourself in a variety of circumstances, particularly in a professional setting. Many businesses ask their employees to follow an ethics code, and some professions like medicine and law are legally required to do so. Making your own code of ethics that takes into account both your professional and personal goals can also be beneficial. That’s particularly true if you want to commit to upholding strong moral principles when dealing with other people on the job.
You can make your code of ethics as long or as short as you like. The main factor to take into account when developing a personal code of ethics is what is important to you. Write everything down, either on paper or on a computer, if you’re interested in creating a personal code of ethics.
What to include in a code of ethics
Your core principles or ethics should be included in your code of conduct. Some examples of values include:
Once you’ve decided which values are most important to you, it may be useful to include how these things apply to you in your code of ethics. You can make your personal code of ethics as complex or as straightforward as you like, as long as it serves your needs.
Creating your own code of ethics
You can use the following examples to create your own personal code of ethics:
Determine a personal mission statement
A mission statement is a common tool used by businesses to establish company culture and lay the groundwork for their code of conduct. Making a mission statement for yourself is beneficial, especially because it can help you focus on what matters to you. You can also consider this a personal ethics statement. You can work on your core values first and use them to understand what your statement should say if you are unsure of what your personal mission statement or ethics statement should say.
Establish your core values
Making a list of all the values you feel are significant to you is a good way to start establishing your core values. Afterward, reduce that list to the top 10 priorities for you. Finally, narrow it down to the top five. The full list includes all the values you deem significant, but your top five core values are those.
Evaluate your priorities
The ethics that are most important to you can be determined by making a list of your life’s priorities. These may be personal or professional priorities, but it is wise to assess them in light of your personal principles. Your values and priorities should coincide for you to feel at ease in every area of your life.
It may be advantageous to look for jobs or businesses that uphold similar ethics if you are a very ethical person with values that are very important to you. For instance, a career in law may be ideal if some of your top values are responsibility, respect, and honesty.
Decide how your ethics affect daily life
You can use these considerations to determine how your ethics will affect your daily life once you have identified the core values that are significant to you, how those values affect your priorities, and what your overall personal ethics statement is. This might entail picking certain companies that share your values or putting in a lot of effort to land a job at an organization whose principles you respect.
It might be beneficial to think about some situations you’re likely to face frequently and consider how you can react in a way that is consistent with your ethics. List your core values somewhere you can see them often, especially if you use a planner or other organizational tool. Alternately, making a piece of artwork or a sign with some of your guiding principles that you can place in a visible location may assist you in remembering them. These reminders can serve as a guide for you both at work and when interacting with others.
Adhering to your organization’s code of ethics
Regardless of whether you have a personal code of ethics, if your company has one, you must abide by it. Even if your personal ethics and your employer’s ethics don’t exactly coincide, it is still possible to strike a balance. You could, for instance, think of ways to combine your professional and personal objectives. Think about identifying one or two shared values and concentrating on creating work that embodies those values.
Most businesses with codes of ethics make them available so you can read them whenever you want, usually in an employee handbook or online. You may be able to consult with your manager or simply review the company code of ethics for direction if you find yourself in a situation where you are unsure of what to do ethically. You might even be able to use the code of ethics established by your employer as the foundation for your own code of ethics.