Have you ever wondered why some organizations have minimal human resourcing problems, complaints, and litigation while others are a bastion of continual disruption, corruption, bitterness, and lost ROIs?
Have you ever wondered what allows one elected official to have minimal human resourcing problems and create positive change for their constituents, while others are corrupt, bigoted, and constantly deflecting attention away from their lack of impact, yet grandstanding and finding fault with everyone else around them?
Organizations and individuals that create positive change have very specific characteristics. Namely, a strong Standard-of-Conduct (SOC) or Code of Conduct (COC) drives how they think, act, and behave.
A personal SOC drives who an individual is and whom they can aspire to be. An organization’s SOC fosters its culture and brand. When you see a lack of SOC within an individual, and a demand from the organization to adhere to a Standards-of-Conduct, multiple challenges will ensue.
When you design a SOC for your organization, begin by outlining your non-negotiable values. Then follow these best practices:
- Ensure that the language of your SOC is in alignment with the terminology in your Mission Statemen
- Your Organizational Values System and the values of your key stakeholders should be aligned into your SOC
- The Personal Values of any individual you ask to adhere to and sign the SOC should be aligned. If a person hesitates to sign your SOC, this may reveal a misalignment. It is much easier, safer, and financially responsible to vet out a potential lousy hire through this due diligence versus dealing with a human resourcing problem after the fact when you have a SOC implosion and violation
- The SOC Statement should address clear expectations of all employees, from the Board level, to the C-Suite, from part-time employees to outsourced and subcontracted labor resource consultants – anyone that at any level represents the organization and its’ brand. And, as appropriate, anyone else associated with these individuals who are connected to the organization at any official or formal level (family, friends, etc.).
- The SOC Statement should be aligned to Corporate or Operating Bylaws, Business Policies, and Human Resource Personnel Handbook Guidelines and consistent with any Annual report from Officers
- Ensure your SOC addresses your immediate expectations and that it takes your organization’s North Star (its trajectory) into account
- The SOC must also take into account and be respectful of the Historical Acknowledgements of the organization and what its legacy articulates
- The SOC must stand up to the political correctness pressures of the day based upon the organization’s integrity. It must adhere to and support any existing Code of Ethics policies or documents
- A great SOC supports every Job Description in an organization, and thus every Job Description should adhere to and support the SOC
- A great SOC supports and adheres to any Performance Review process or document with specific KPIs for forward performance at every level
- A great SOC is revisited annually and signed and re-affirmed by every member of the organization
- Your SOC should apply on an individual level and play fair across All levels of human resources and staffing
Individuals with no internal SOC will always fight the creation of a SOC policy, document, or pledge. Why? Because a lack of SOC permits debate and allows individuals that have nothing meaningful to contribute to get by on the labor and efforts of others!
For benchmarks in SOC methodology and statements, review any sustained great organization in your community or business marketplace, and you will most likely find they have some variety of this concept and document. It will be clearly articulated among their personnel, and it will appear in public communications (website, corporate charter, promotional, public relations documents, etc.). Additionally, explore resources and whitepapers from your trade association, scholars of higher education and my book, The Managerial Leadership Bible, Revised Edition II.
Standards-of-Conduct (SOC) outline the mechanisms and behaviors that are expected and non-negotiable. They will influence behaviors when no one is watching, ensuring that your employees act in a manner you find acceptable.
Written by Dr. Jeffrey Magee.
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