Ethics & Governance
Rethinking ethics and codes of conduct
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It seems everyone has experienced a code of conduct or business ethics training session that is unmemorable, generic and fails to resonate.

The unintended consequence of such training is that it leaves employees jaded with management's intent, annoyed at the waste of their time and frustrated by the lack of relevance of content, despite well-known workplace ethical challenges being unacknowledged and remaining unaddressed.

Such training can also blindside risk managers, boards and regulators into a false sense of security that employees are aware of the specific industry challenges they will face.

The sad reality is that we do know where the high-risk areas are in each industry, and it is a management remiss not to engage employees with specific skills training to anticipate and respond appropriately.

So, why do so many training initiatives fail to engage employees or protect employers? As is the case with organisational culture, much training fails simply because of its poor sponsorship by organisational leaders, poor design and poor resourcing.

The systemic source of poor design begins with an approach that takes a legal or compliance perspective.

Often the focus is on telling employees about what they can and cannot do instead of recognising and responding to their innate need to 'make sense' of the codes they are being asked to sign up to, how they apply to their day-today activities and decisions and how they are designed to influence interpersonal relationships to enable a shared understanding of what appropriate workplace behaviour looks like.

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