Employees benefit from membership in a workplace culture that teaches them how to be successful. Some business owners create a code of ethics that explicitly states desired behaviors or prohibited behaviors or a combination of both. Some businesses go a step further, offering ethics training to help employees learn how the company code of ethics applies to their jobs.


Your staff can benefit from detailed information about how your organizational ethics apply to various forms of communication. Employees communicate face to face, on the phone, via email and text messages and through transmission of many types of files. They maintain contacts with fellow employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. You might create standards for professional communication and prohibit employees from sending messages that will intimidate or harm another person or group. Look at how information travels through your business, especially in decision-making processes and strategic communications.

Conflicts of Interest

Employees need your guidance on how their jobs could create a conflict of interest. For example, if your business fulfills a contract with a government agency, you could be subject to certain legal requirements for yourself and your staff. If you examine the different types of business relationships that your business has, you can make a list of potential conflicts of interest. You can ensure your code of ethics and training materials cover these scenarios.

Modeling Ethics

Entrepreneurs might find the leadership they provide is more important than their business code of ethics. Ethical guidelines are general reminders for employees to follow. Employees can learn a lot by observing how you interact with customers and suppliers, picking up important clues about how to behave in these situations. If you aren't modeling your code of ethics, then employees would be justified in thinking they don't have to follow it.

Employee Buy-In

A code of ethics can be more effective if employees view it as something they're proud to follow. They can help you decide what professional standards should be included in a new code of ethics. Your ethical standards should fit your respective industry. Just like members of a professional association ascribe to a shared code of ethics, employees can enjoy the social status that results from following a code of ethics and building a reputation for good business practices in the local community. Have employees vote on the final version of the company code of ethics, ensuring you have majority support.