July 2021
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TD Magazine

Live Out the Code of Ethics

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Offer regular training and highlight organizational ethics year-round.

While many companies understand the importance of having a code of ethics, they may not fully incorporate the code into everyday business practices. That's where Robbi-Lynn Watnik's "Operationalize a Code of Ethics" issue of TD at Work can offer guidance. It's incumbent upon all employees to understand, embrace, and adhere to a company's code of ethics.


If you're a talent development professional, here are two of Watnik's tips for training individuals on ethics.

Know your audience. Recognize that not all stakeholders will need the same level or type of training on the code. Board members, for example, should know what's in the code, take part in a short training, and be aware of the full training plan for employees, but they don't need to know the ins and outs. Similarly, finance professionals will have different needs than HR practitioners.

Discuss frequently. Ethics doesn't mean a one-hour staff training course, either in person or in front of a computer screen. Plan a full calendar of events and communication collateral to instruct on the organizational code of ethics, and keep that front and center throughout the year. For example:

  • November features Celebrate Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week, so plan a meeting around the commemoration or hand out inexpensive swag as a visible reminder for employees.
  • Focus a discussion on a key risk element for your organization or team, such as conflict of interest or data security.
  • Conduct a year-end assessment of successes and plan steps for improvement.

These tips were adapted from the July 2021 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at td.org/TDatWork.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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