Communicating your codes of conduct
Now that your organization has a code of conduct in place, what is the next step? Will the document just sit in a dark corner, or will you know how to use it? A code of conduct is used to protect all stakeholders from unacceptable behaviors, minimize opportunities for misconduct and help prevent unfounded allegations. However, the code will be useless if it isn’t well-communicated to your constituents. Without a code of conduct, stakeholders may unknowingly tolerate misconduct, which could have a negative impact on your organization and all that are involved.
So how does an organization communicate a code of conduct? First, it is essential to ensure every stakeholder in an organization reviews, understands and acknowledges the code. Make it a requirement for athletes, coaches and parents to read and sign a printed version of the form. After completion, make a copy of the code and give one back to the stakeholder. Keep the other copy for the organization’s records. This will serve as an agreement between the organization and the signee of the document. Then, post a digital version on the organization’s website, making sure to clearly communicate where it can be found, using some sort of literature (i.e. posters, handouts, emails).
It is essential to target every one of your audiences with your code of conduct. Thus, draft codes that clearly define acceptable and unacceptable behavior with different language that pertains specifically to a different type of organizational member. While the language should change, the overall meaning of the document should stay the same and keep the safety of the stakeholders as the goal.
Internally, conduct a meeting with your employees to guarantee they are equipped to answer questions regarding the organization’s code of conduct. Stakeholders should be encouraged to consult with a staff member regarding any questions or uncertainties related to the code.
The biggest part of communicating a code of conduct is having a plan in place before an incident occurs. A communications plan allows stakeholders to be ready for a potential problem and provides them the proper chain of command and steps to take once an issue has occurred. The better the plan, the easier it will be to properly address and resolve the dispute.