According to the International Trade Association, business ethics is simply “responsible business conduct.” Ethics policies and procedures provide a step by step “how-to” for conducting business responsibly, or ethically. Policies encourage the “choices and actions of employees and agents that foster and meet the reasonable expectations of enterprise stakeholders.” Procedures show officers and employees what to do and what to avoid doing so that choices and actions are responsible and right, as opposed to immoral and wrong.
ManagementHelp.org suggests starting the development of ethics policies and procedures by identifying what the organization stands for, i.e., its core values. State each value in simple language. Values such as respect for customers and environmental responsibility are both examples of simply stated organizational values.
Define Ethical Behavior
Take the organization's values and give examples of what the values mean in terms of day-to-day behavior. For example, an organization with the value statements above may define respect for customers in terms of behavior as never overcharging a customer and/or never arguing against a refund. It may define environmental responsibility as following all safety procedures regardless of cost, and always inspecting machinery and fail-safes, i.e., equipment and machinery that prevent environmental disaster, on schedule and maintaining or replacing it regardless of cost.
Publish and Train
Publish the business ethics policies and procedures to let both internal and external business associates know what the organization stands for and what it actually does to prove those values. Train everyone in the organization, from board members to officers to employees, on the ethics policies and procedures so that the entire organization is on board and knows what is expected of them in terms of how to act, and what to do and say to comply with the ethics policies and procedures.