A Simple 4 Rule Company Code of Ethics for Online Communications
Ethical Codes of conduct are documents created by organizations/companies that provide written standards of ethical workplace conduct for all. These written standards are important because they are a reference point for all employees to look to when trying to decide if their actions fall within the company’s stated ethical standards. The best explanation of the importance of an Ethical Code of Conduct I found was provided by the Ethics Resource Center (2003) which says, “Codes serve as valuable communication pieces that facilitate discussion in the workplace about expectations and standards.” (p. 2).
I believe having a thorough Code of Conduct sets a baseline understanding for all employees of what is expected on them as stewards of the company. The following rules are meant to guide employees while they conduct normal activities outside of work, such as posting on the internet or socializing on forums or in the comment section. A careless post by a chatty associate could easily turn into a PR nightmare. This is increasingly important in this day and age, where most people are constantly connected to social media.
Code of Conduct for Online Communications
Rule 1: Practice Impartial Decision Making and Distribution of Information
Intent: To keep the integrity of the company’s statements and preserve its public image.
Guidelines: Properly research the information we share, and make sure it is not influenced or changed by outsides forces.
Improper Conduct: Sharing information that is skewed by bias or influenced by others such as an editor receiving a gift from a potential subject before writing a story on them.
Rule 2: Disclose All Vital Information When Making Posts
Intent: To maintain transparency with the public, and avoid bad publicity or misunderstandings down the line.
Guidelines: Disclose information that is pursuant to the product or entity in a public forum, making this information readily accessible. Such as ingredient disclosures of a product, or the company’s goals.
Improper Conduct: Not disclosing this information or distorting it to the point of being untrue.
Rule 3: Actively Safeguard Confidential and Private Information
Intent: Uphold the safety of individuals and organizations that we are affiliated with by protecting private information we gain on those parties.
Guidelines: Protect information by keeping safe bookkeeping practices, not sharing confidential information readily and be on alert for devolution of information.
Improper Conduct: Sharing information, not practicing secure bookkeeping, unsafe workspaces, and talking about clients openly.
Rule 4: Promote Safe and Fair Competition Among Competitors
Intent: Promoting safe competition and a pleasant space within the same communities.
Guidelines: Not participate in speaking about competitors, or bashing them in any form.
Improper Conduct: Berating, denigrating, and/or speaking poorly about other companies or individuals.
Ethics Resource Center. (2003). Creating a Workable Company Code of Ethics: A Practical Guide to Identifying and Developing Organizational Standards. (2nd ed., pp 1–3).