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Code of Conduct Policy Template

Published March 11, 2024 (last updated on April 2, 2024) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


A comprehensive Code of Conduct (CoC) is a critical component in establishing your company's ethical framework. It sets out the expectations for employee behaviour and reflects your organisation's values and commitment to ethical practices. This guide focuses on the steps to create an effective Code of Conduct, including essential policy elements and illustrative examples. 

What is a code of conduct?  

An employee Code of Conduct outlines the policies, procedures and ethical standards that govern decisions and actions within a company. It serves as a blueprint for employees, guiding them in their daily interactions and decision-making processes. A specific code can address unique challenges and compliance requirements for employees in sectors like IT, where confidentiality, security, and integrity are paramount. 

Why is a code of conduct policy important for your business? 

  • Compliance: Australia's Fair Work Act 2009 outlines the minimum workplace standards. A CoC complements these regulations by establishing your company's specific values and ethical expectations. 

  • Employee engagement: A clear Code of Conduct policy template enables employees to understand their rights and responsibilities, creating a sense of ownership and engagement within the organisation. 

  • Risk management: A Code of Conduct acts as a risk management tool, mitigating potential legal liability and reputational issues arising from unethical conduct. 

  • Brand reputation: Upholding ethical standards strengthens your brand image, attracting and retaining talent while enhancing trust with customers and partners. 

How to create a Code of Conduct policy  

Step 1: Define your core company values 

Begin by identifying your core company values. These values are the foundation of your Code of Conduct and should reflect the principles you want to guide your employees' actions. 

Example: If integrity, respect, and teamwork are among your core values, your Code of Conduct should include policies that promote honesty in all dealings, respect for colleagues and clients, and collaboration. 

Step 2: Outline key policy areas 

Your employee Code of Conduct should cover key areas relevant to your business operations and industry. Common policy areas include: 

  • Regulatory compliance and legal obligations: Emphasise adherence to state and federal laws and regulations. 

  • Workplace behaviour: Address harassment, discrimination, diversity and inclusion. 

  • Conflicts of interest: Provide guidance on identifying and managing potential conflicts. 

  • Confidentiality: Outline expectations for handling sensitive information. 

  • Use of company assets: Set rules for the appropriate use of company resources. 

  • Health and safety: Highlight the importance of maintaining a safe work environment. 

Step 3: Seek employee input 

Involve employees in the development process by conducting surveys, focus groups, or workshops to gather feedback and ensure the CoC reflects their concerns and aspirations. 

Step 4: Develop specific policies 

For each key area, develop specific policies that detail the expected behaviours and actions. Use clear, concise language to ensure understanding across all levels of your organisation. 

Example: Under Workplace Behaviour, you must define acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. You might include a policy like, "Our company is committed to creating a work environment free from harassment and discrimination. All employees are expected to treat others with respect and professionalism." 

Step 5: Incorporate real-world scenarios 

Use examples to illustrate how your company's code applies in real-world scenarios. This can help employees understand the practical implications of the Code of Conduct. 

Example: For the Confidentiality policy, you could describe a scenario where an employee is approached by an external party asking for sensitive information and explain the correct course of action. 

Step 6: Detail reporting procedures 

Clearly outline the procedures for reporting ethical concerns or violations of the employee Code of Conduct policy. Emphasise the company's commitment to non-retaliation for those who report in good faith. 

Example: "If you witness a violation of our Code of Conduct, please report it to your manager or our ethics hotline. All reports will be treated confidentially, and you will be protected from retaliation." 

Step 7: Implement your Code of Conduct 

Communication and training: Once developed, the code should be communicated effectively to all employees, with regular training sessions to ensure understanding and compliance. 

Review and update: The employee Code of Conduct policy should be a living document, periodically reviewed and updated to reflect changes in Australian employment laws, industry standards, and company policies. 

Leadership example: Leadership should exemplify the standards set out in the code, demonstrating commitment to the company’s ethical framework. 

This code of conduct policy delineates the conduct expectations for our employees, underscoring the importance of ethical behaviour, a respectful work environment, and a collaborative work culture. It aims to cultivate an environment where open communication and freedom of expression are valued and where every employee contributes to a respectful, well-organised and efficient workplace. 

Code of Conduct policy template 

This Code of Conduct policy applies universally across our organisation, encompassing all company employees, irrespective of their role, contract type or seniority level. 

Key Principles of Conduct 

Legal and Ethical Standards Compliance: 
We expect team members to uphold the integrity of our operations by adhering to all applicable laws, regulations, and ethical standards, ensuring responsible management of financial activities, partnerships and company representation. 

Workplace Respect and Equality: 
We are committed to an environment free from discrimination, harassment, or any form of victimisation. Our policies support equal opportunities and fair treatment in all employment aspects, fostering respect and dignity. 

Stewardship of Resources: 
We expect employees to use all forms of company property responsibly. Misuse of company equipment, violation of copyright laws, or damage to company property is strictly prohibited. 

Professional Conduct Expectations: 

  • Dedication and Commitment: Demonstrate a strong work ethic by fulfilling job duties, regularly meeting deadlines, striving for excellence, taking initiative and following team leaders' instructions. 

  • Dress and Appearance: Employees should adhere to our dress code, maintaining a professional appearance at all times. 

  • Anti-corruption Measures: Gifts from clients or partners are discouraged to prevent conflicts of interest; bribery is absolutely prohibited. 

  • Fulfilment of Responsibilities: All employees are to perform their duties with honesty and respect. Leadership roles come with the expectation of fair and just delegation of tasks. 

  • Punctuality and Attendance: Regular attendance and timeliness are expected, helping to generate reliability and trustworthiness within our teams. 

Ethics in Action: 

  • Conflict of Interest Avoidance: Employees must not engage in activities that could conflict with their professional responsibilities or the company's interests. 

  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Cultivating a supportive and friendly workplace is essential for productivity and morale. 

  • Effective Communication: Openness and clarity in all communications are vital for teamwork and operational efficiency. 

  • Responsible Use of Benefits: Company-provided benefits should be utilised judiciously and as intended. 

Upholding Our Standards 

Adherence to Policies: 
We expect employees to understand and comply with our organisational policies, seeking guidance from management or HR as needed. 

Consequences of Misconduct: 
Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in disciplinary actions, tailored to the severity of the breach, including but not limited to reprimand, suspension, or even employment termination

Commitment to Integrity 

Our collective commitment to these principles is fundamental to building a workplace that is not only productive and efficient but also ethical and respectful. By living up to these standards, we ensure our company's reputation for excellence and integrity remains untarnished. 

Embrace Our Ethical Culture 

We invite all employees to embrace this guide as a framework for professional behaviour and ethical conduct. For support in navigating these standards or to discuss any concerns, please reach out to your manager or our HR department. 

Let’s work together to maintain a workplace that everyone is proud to be a part of, marked by mutual respect, ethical integrity, and professional excellence. 

Embarking on the Journey Towards Ethical Excellence 

Creating a Code of Conduct policy is an integral part of fostering an ethical workplace. By defining clear policies, illustrating them with examples, and ensuring they are understood and embraced by your team, you lay the groundwork for a culture of integrity and respect. Remember, a Code of Conduct is a living document that should evolve as your company grows and changes. 

Contact Employsure today for free initial advice about employment relations, laws and regulations and WHS support. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you provide an example of a code of conduct policy?

A notable example is Google's code of conduct policy, which emphasises adherence to legal standards, maintaining a respectful workplace environment and the protection of company assets. This policy is framed around the company's famous motto, "Don't be evil," guiding employees to make ethical decisions that reflect positively on the company and its values. 

Why is establishing a code of conduct for employees pivotal?

Such a code delineates explicit expectations for conduct, cultivates a supportive work atmosphere and upholds uniform standards throughout the company. 

What elements are crucial in an employee code of conduct?

Essential components include guidelines on behaviour, legal compliance, fostering respect at work, safeguarding company resources, and outlining repercussions for policy breaches. 

How is professionalism addressed in the policy?

The policy underlines maintaining integrity at work, conforming to dress codes, eschewing corrupt practices and executing job responsibilities with diligence. 

What are the implications of breaching the code?

Infringing upon the code may result in disciplinary measures, varying from warnings to dismissal and, for serious infractions, legal proceedings. 

Why an ethical Code of Conduct matters

An ethical Code of Conduct is a reflection of your company’s values and commitment to ethical decision-making. It not only guides employees in making the right choices but also builds trust with clients, investors, and the community. 

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