It’s About Time: When to Update Your Global Code of Conduct

December 5, 2023 | New Workplace Leadership | 5 min read

When was the last time your organization reviewed its Global Code of Conduct? Good governance says that you should refresh your Code at least every two years; but for many organizations, there are differing opinions on the necessity to do so.

Consider this blog post a sign from the universe to take another look at your Code.

Your Code serves as a guide for employees and stakeholders alike on what ethical behavior looks like in your organization. Regular reviews of that guide help clarify, refresh and reinforce your organization’s commitment to ethical standards – and ensure that your expectations remain relevant to your operations and the expectations of stakeholders as the business environment and societal norms change over time.

And that’s not all. Regularly updating your Global Code of Conduct has other benefits, as well:

  • Ensures compliance. Reviewing your code on a regular basis may help your organization to identify any legal or ethical changes that may require your attention.
  • Mitigates risk. Identifying and addressing potential issues before they escalate is a proactive way to mitigate risk.
  • Builds cultural alignment. As your organization evolves, it's important to ensure that the code of conduct aligns with its values, culture, and mission.
  • Improves employee awareness. Remind employees of their responsibilities and the organization’s commitment to ethical behavior.
  • Establishes trust. A well-maintained code of conduct can help build and maintain trust with external stakeholders.

And finally, organizations that regularly review their code of conduct are simply better positioned to make improvements and adapt to changing circumstances. They can look at industry best practices and stay competitive by demonstrating an ongoing commitment to ethical behavior.

Skillsoft is Updating Our Code, Too

Last year, Skillsoft launched 12 new cinematic-style courses as part of our Global Code of Conduct solution. And this month, we’re pleased to announce 19—yes 19—new topics for your perusal. These topics cover many of the flagship and emerging risks we see covered in many organization’s Codes and are top of mind for educating employees. These include:

  • Accommodating Disabilities 2
  • Accounting & Financial Integrity 2
  • Anti-Money Laundering 3
  • Outside Communications
  • International Trade Compliance 2
  • Promoting Safety & Security at Work 2
  • Protecting Customer Information 2
  • Records Management 2
  • Social Media and Electronic Communications 3
  • Anti-retaliation
  • Combating Modern Slavery
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Global Supply Chain and Vendor Management
  • Data Privacy
  • Diversity, Inclusion, Respect, and Fairness
  • Non-disability Accommodations
  • Reporting and Whistleblower Protection
  • Respectful Communication

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While many of these courses are an expected addition to our catalog, we thought it might be interesting to double-click on one of the emerging risk topics new to our portfolio – Combating Modern Slavery.

A Preview of Skillsoft’s “Combating Modern Slavery” Training

Modern slavery is a challenge across the globe today; even well-meaning companies can find themselves unwittingly involved in and exposed to modern slavery through their contractors or supply chain. Skillsoft’s new cinematic-style course reviews the most common types of exploitation as well as signs to be on the lookout for when working with suppliers.

Why might organizations consider including a course on Combatting Modern Slavery in their Global Codes of Conduct? Honestly, the same reasons tend to apply to any course you’re considering adding to your training program. These include:

  • Legal Compliance: In the case of modern slavery, many countries have laws and regulations in place – such as the Modern Slavery Act in the UK and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act in the United States – to help organizations avoid legal and financial consequences. Training your team ensures that your organization meets legal requirements and avoids legal liabilities.
  • Ethical Responsibility: Ensure that your company is not inadvertently supporting or benefiting from forced labor, human trafficking, or other forms of exploitation. Training can help your team understand the ethical implications of their actions and make more informed choices.
  • Employee Engagement, Corporate Reputation, and Brand Image: Employees tend to be more engaged and satisfied with their work when they feel their organization is socially responsible. At the same time, customers and stakeholders increasingly expect businesses to uphold ethical standards, and a commitment to combating modern slavery can be a strong selling point.
  • Supply Chain Transparency: Training your team on modern slavery issues can improve transparency within your supply chain – enabling you to better understand the working conditions of your suppliers and subcontractors, identify potential issues, and take corrective actions.
  • Human Rights and Social Impact: By addressing modern slavery, your company can contribute to the broader effort to protect human rights and promote social justice. This is not only a moral imperative but also a way to create a positive impact on society.

In summary, training your team to combat modern slavery is not only a legal requirement in many jurisdictions but also an ethical choice, and a strategic business decision that can lead to improved reputation, risk management, and long-term sustainability.

Your Global Code of Conduct is a Reflection of Your Company

Many organizations looking to create a culture of compliance are surprised to learn that culture develops, in part, from where you focus your efforts.

In the case of your Global Code of Conduct, the courses you include serve as a visible and tangible expression of your organization’s commitment to ethical behavior, responsible business practices, and its role as a responsible corporate citizen on a global stage.

Your Code is a key instrument for aligning the actions of individuals within the company with its overarching values and principles. Think about the type of training you need to include to ensure your employees are up-to-speed and understand that this reflects the type of company you want to become.