Standards & Procedures
Through the present Code of Ethics, the Organization expresses its commitment to achieving a safe, positive, and supportive work environment. The necessary prerequisite for meeting the said goal is ensuring ethical, dignified, courteous, and respectful conduct among the professionals. The Organization acknowledges the worth of people and sees creating an atmosphere where every person is treated fairly as its top priority. The present document seeks to encourage trust, responsibility, and accountability in every colleague and stakeholder and compel them to collaborate and exchange views and opinions in an open dialogue.
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The Organization sees strength in diversity and does not discriminate against gender, race, ethnic background, and sexual orientation. It is important that every person sees his or her colleagues as complex human beings and abstains from putting a label on them based on their origins and personal traits. The Organization’s staff comes from a variety of backgrounds, which ensures unique and versatile experiences.
They allow each member to bring in fresh ideas and make a valuable contribution. However, the Organization emphasizes the need for colleagues and stakeholders to adhere to the outlined ethical principles, putting them above their beliefs, opinions, preferences, and habits. To make sure that conduct in the workplace is compliant with the present Code of Ethics, both staff and the managing board members are assigned distinct roles.
The Role of the Staff
The Code of Ethics prescribes each staff member to treat all people with courtesy and respect. If a conflict is to arise, all colleagues should retain their professionalism and try to reach a compromise without being offensive. Self-reflection is seen by the Organization as a vital part of fostering a respectful work atmosphere. With this being said, staff members are encouraged to be mindful and observant. If someone’s rights are violated, or he or she is subjected to disrespectful behavior, a person who witnesses this problematic situation is to intervene and appeal to a manager if necessary. The Organization is well-aware that staff members are at the top of their performance when they do not have to handle unfair treatment, conflicts, and negative emotions.
The Role of the Managing Board
The managers of the Organization are responsible for setting the tone and acting as role models for others. Since the members of the managing board have to handle difficult situations more often than the staff, it is essential that they remain courteous, impartial, and respectful at all times. The Organization does not encourage making top-down decisions and demanding immediate reinforcement without consulting the staff first.
This especially applies to the situations when actions were undertaken by the managing board affect the employees directly. The Organization supports the idea of open dialogue, during which the managing staff communicates candidly and credibly, asks for feedback, and ensures clarity and transparency. Lastly, the managers must promote the staff’s professional growth and provide access to job and education opportunities if employees show outstanding results and demonstrate their worth.
The Organization defines disrespect as a type of behavior that lacks courtesy, dignity, and civility. Being disrespectful means conducting oneself in such a way that insults, diminishes, denigrates, or humiliates others. The present Code of Ethics acknowledges the fact that disrespect may take many forms, such as:
- spreading rumors or distorted facts, thus, hurting a victim’s reputation;
- raising one’s voice without reason, shouting;
- criticizing a person’s work or ability unconstructively, ridiculing and diminishing their accomplishments;
- humiliating a person in front of others;
- swearing and insulting others;
- taking credit for others’ achievements;
- assuming a domineering position without an instruction to do so;
- interrupting others in a meeting or making negative comments while they are giving a speech.
The Organization denounces favoritism and prescribes both staff and managing board members to abstain from acting upon their personal preferences and inclinations, which may lead to unequal treatment. The present Code of Ethics prohibits all forms of discrimination in the workplace. No person should be deprived of or given extra opportunities based on his or her gender, race, ethnic and social background, age, marital status, health status, religion, and sexuality. The Organization prevents the staff from hiring family members as such decisions are considered unprofessional and a form of favoritism. Exchanging sexual acts for work advancements/ promotion opportunities even when both parties consent is completely unacceptable.
Abuse of Authority
The Organization disapproves of the abuse of power and authority, which the present Code of Ethics defines as inappropriate use of one’s position of influence for personal benefits or imposing dominance over others. Below are some examples of this form of misconduct:
- Using one’s leverage to skew employment opportunities, for instance, by demanding payment for work contract renewal;
- Offensive and hostile behavior that includes intimidation, disruption, blackmail, threats, and use of force;
- Supervisors asking subordinates to run their personal errands during their working hours, thus, preventing them from advancing the Organization;
- They are using corporate vehicles to drive personal acquaintances.
The Code of Ethics implies the organization of training sessions to make sure that the staff is not only familiar with the policies but is also aware of how they are reinforced. For new employees, work ethics training is part of their general training where they are getting acquainted with the workplace and refine their hard skills. Existing employees enroll in a separate program where they are made aware of changes and/ or expand their knowledge of ethical and respectful conduct. The main difference between work ethics training programs for new and existing staff is the introductory part on the Organization’s values and mission for those who just joined it. Otherwise, the programs entail similar elements, which include but are not limited to:
- Ethics dilemma discussion when participants are given a situation that requires making a difficult decision;
- Roleplay of challenging situations and sensitive conversations;
- Real cases analysis;
- Ethical dilemma generation and solution.
Training takes place every two months and is separated into two sessions, each of which lasts two hours. The training supervisor team includes one person from an outside organization with experience in human resource development and one manager from the Organization who is familiar with the trainees. The programs may take place within one department, or employees from different departments can be mixed, which would stimulate networking and reinforce friendly bonds.
Monitoring & Reporting Misconduct
During training sessions, it is explained that the staff should hold each other accountable and help with monitoring and reporting misconduct. The managers should reassure the trainees that they will face no retaliation for speaking out about a violation of the Organization’s ethical policies. If a person witnesses disrespect, harassment, or abuse of authority, he or she can:
- Submit a report anonymously through email or in the written form;
- Request a private meeting with their supervisor;
- Share during a scheduled training session in a respectful manner.
In the report or face-to-face interaction with a supervisor, it is important to be specific, give clear examples of disrespectful and unethical behavior as well as include the date, time, and location where an incident took place. Apart from these actions, staff members are encouraged to participate in anonymous surveys conducted every week where they can evaluate the atmosphere in the workplace, file a complaint, or suggest a readjustment.
The Organization expects staff members to respect the ethical guidelines and make an effort to adhere to them, and compel others to be compliant. If an employee violates the Code, he or she is given a warning in private, which can be accompanied by a conversation clarifying the main ethical principles. After two violations, an employee will have to face a penalty. Some offenses, however, are seen by the Organization as particularly severe. If a person is physically or sexually violent, abuses substances, and causes damage to corporate property, he or she will be dismissed.
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The effectiveness of the ethics program is evaluated based on managers’ and employees’ feedback. The primary method of assessment is weekly, monthly, and yearly surveys in which staff members are encouraged to share how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with the workplace. The volume of misconduct reports may be a valid measurement tool. However, managers should approach it with caution as an increase in the number of reports might only mean that employees are becoming more outspoken and proactive (Kaptein, 2015).
The results of the surveys are processed by the managers with the help of the human resource development specialists, and growth areas are outlined. Changes are communicated during bi-monthly training sessions in the form of presentations and discussions. If a change is incremental, it is to be added to the Code of Ethics.
Kaptein, M. (2015). The effectiveness of ethics programs: The role of scope, composition, and sequence. Journal of Business Ethics, 132(2), 415-431.