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!

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