Ethics and compliance play a pivotal role in creating a positive corporate culture.

Each company has their own unique ethics and compliance policy which aligns to their values and expectations. To determine the appropriate ethical guidelines for your company, you might consider studying some of the best examples of code of conduct examples for businesses.

However, there are some common elements that should be included in every company’s ethics and compliance policy. In a two-part blog, we will help you understand how to prepare, write and enforce your ethics and compliance policy by listing some of the key elements of a strong ethics and compliance policy.

Part 1 addressed:

  • 7 Key elements of a strong ethics and compliance policy
  • Overview of the Process of Policy Writing
  • How to Prepare for Policy Writing

This blog will address:

  • 4 Benefits of Strong Ethics and Compliance in the Workplace
  • 3 Ways to Enforce New Policies and Procedures
  • How Polonious can Help

4 Benefits of Strong Ethics and Compliance in the Workplace

  • Improves compliance – While an action or behaviour might be legal, it is not always ethical. A focus on business ethics is at the underpinning of legal compliance. You need both to build and sustain a culture of ethical compliance, as they go hand in hand. The more you communicate the company’s values and principles, provide training to reflect them, and hold every employee accountable, the more you decrease your risks for the company, stakeholders and employees including yourself.
  • Misconduct declines– When you establish a code of conduct that outlines expectations of fair treatment and ethical behavior, you provide employees with the standards they can use to conduct themselves in a professional manner. This written code often goes beyond what the law requires, and it provides a solid foundation for building a culture of respect, trust, transparency, and accountability.
  • Better workplace culture – A company built upon respect, trust, transparency and accountability. A Forbes article also suggests that a positive workplace culture improves teamwork, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce.
  • Boosts morale – Employees want to feel safe, secure, encouraged, valued, and respected. An ethics and compliance policy can contribute to fostering an ethical compliance culture enhances all of these elements of a positive, thriving corporate environment and thus improves employee morale.
Ethics and Compliance

3 Ways to Enforce New Policies and Procedures

  • Distribute the new policies – Sure, you could print these out and create binders full of policies, but that’s a waste of time and money, not to mention all the headaches it will create as soon as a single policy gets updated. Instead, use a policy management software solution to store your policy manual. That way, your employees will be able to access them at any time, even outside the office. By keeping them in one place, your employees can easily search for them to answer any compliance questions they have. You can also use the policy management software to distribute the policies, ensure everyone reviews and understands them, and even have them sign off on the documents. Further, you can track all the signatures to ensure full regulatory and accreditation compliance.
  • Create a training plan – Of course, reading a new policy is not the same as understanding the policy, especially if these are complex and/or legal requirements that require input form subject matter experts. You’ll want to develop training content so employees can understand the organizational expectations and the executive vision. Using a policy management solution that includes a training management tool can make things a whole lot easier.You can create customizable online training that not only saves time and money, it helps your employees quickly understand your new policies. You can also test their knowledge and understanding with assessments, which will not only help with any compliance requirements, it can show you holes in your training and other materials.
  • Establish a review cycle – Laws and best practices are always evolving and technology is ever-changing. This makes policy management an ongoing issue. Part of a healthy, robust policy management process means reviewing policies on a regular basis, such as reviewing policies on social media or bring-your-own-device every six months. Other policies may only need reviews and revisions once a year or every few years. Including the review process as part of your writing process will help ensure the policies are never out of date. Just make sure to pay attention to any details that will need to be revisited, and keep the bigger picture and end goals in mind throughout the whole process.

How Polonious can Help

Even the strongest ethics and compliance policy won’t make a difference, if it isn’t properly enforced. Once the policy is created, it must be reinforced through training, repetition and enforcement of consequences for violating it. Most importantly, company executives need to set the tone from the top, demonstrating ethical business practices and attitudes and a zero-tolerance policy for violations.

These executives must also be subject to the policy, and face equal consequences for violating it – see for example James Hardie’s firing of its CEO Jack Truong. Ensuring all parties are subject to fair investigations, and face reasonable consequences if found to have engaged in misconduct, will ensure people adhere to the policy while others will feel comfortable reporting issues knowing that something will be done about it – unlike recent reports at Rio Tinto.

Polonious can help by providing a portal for reporting all complaints, as well as providing a secure, procedurally fair investigation solution. Polonious also offers a full audit trail and a suite of reporting capabilities to ensure transparency of decisions and outcomes, while maintaining confidentiality for complainants.