Sunday, December 1, 2013
When employees behave badly
I work with a business whose employees are offsite on a regular basis conducting training. The employees are regularly told (verbally) that they should not drink with clients, have sex with clients, or behave in any other inappropriate way. In a nut shell, respect who you work for, respect yourselves, and respect the people you are serving.
Recently, this verbal policy was violated and the consequences were dire – the employee was given her marching orders.
The aftermath of this recent work trip has been to implement a more formal process in making employees more accountable for their actions. A verbal checklist of ‘what not to do’ has now morphed into a Code of Conduct or Standards of behaviour that employees must sign before going away on a work trip.
It covers general etiquette or behaviours that staff and contractors are expected to demonstrate. Some of these include:
•I will not discuss confidential client issues with, or in the presence of, clients or visitors;
• I will speak at an appropriate voice level;
• I will use language that reflects my professionalism and commitment to good service;
• I will treat co-workers with respect;
It then comments on unacceptable behaviours or standards that must be strictly adhered to by all staff and contractors while working offsite. Some of these include:
• No drinking / no intoxication;
• No sexual relations with clients or other staff members unless in a demonstrated pre-existing ongoing relationship;
• No drug use;
The critical bit comes at the end. It comes back to the critical issues and accountability and penalties if the standards of behaviour are ignored. It ends with the following:
‘My signature below indicates that I understand what is required of me when working for x. I understand that there may be further action such as a written warning or termination of my employment/contract if I do not comply with the above standards of behaviour.’
The employee is expected to sign and date the contract.
With Christmas fast approaching, A Code of Conduct may be appropriate to guard against repeat offenders at the Christmas party. Food for thought!