Subdivision Tips, South Australia (C: +61431138537), https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateSA5000/

Monday, March 27, 2017

Codes of conduct are in breach of common sense

OPINION Mar 27 2017 at 11:00 PM Updated Mar 27 2017 at 11:00 PM Save ArticleCodes of conduct are in breach of common sense Share via Email Share on Google Plus Post on facebook wall Share on twitter Post to Linkedin Share on Reddit Codes of Conduct are usually just PR stunts and excuses used as justification for sacking people. Codes of Conduct are usually just PR stunts and excuses used as justification for sacking people. HARRY AFENTOGLOU Lucy Kellaway by Lucy Kellaway I am in breach of my employer's code of conduct. I have broken it in not one but in four different ways, one of which involved barefaced lying. The normal thing would be to keep quiet about this, but I am choosing to shop myself, partly because I have reason to believe I am in good company but also because the real wrongdoing was not done by me, but by the codes themselves – which breach the principles of common sense, human motivation, and snappy writing. Codes of conduct are scary things. Charlotte Hogg, who helped write the Bank of England's code and who is also an adviser to my charity, still managed to get tripped up by it (by not disclosing that her brother worked for Barclays) and this month had to resign as deputy governor. Seeing what happened to her, I decided to do something I had never done before: settle down to read my own. The first thing The Financial Times' corporate code of conduct demands is that employees "act in a professional, honest and ethical manner" – which is fine, if a little general. But by the second bullet point I had already come a cropper: "Be familiar with the information contained in this code," it orders. In my defence I have tried to read it on various occasions in past years but I am a slow reader and nine pages of dull text is a bit much. I don't read the small print This does not make me an outlier. It makes me just like most humans, who are not naturally drawn to the small print on health and safety policies. In the past week I have asked everyone I have met if they have read their employers' codes of conduct. The majority either said no or looked sheepish and said they had skimmed it. Some claimed to have read theirs, but when asked what it contained could do no better than: "Oh you know, the usual stuff." This means every year, millions of wage slaves – including me – commit another violation and perjure themselves by ticking a box claiming to have read, understood and committed to complying with the code, when they have done nothing of the sort. The next breach concerns my obligation to report any colleague who is not following the code. I know for a fact that a certain FT journalist has not read it properly either, in which case I am again at fault for not shopping him. But to grass up a person for something so tiny would interfere with my own ethical principle of not sneaking on a friend, especially one who is a fine, upstanding journalist. So what should I do? On this, as on every tricky, real-life dilemma, a code of conduct is of no help at all. The Private Eye Code As for the rest of the code, it is perfectly sensible in a general sort of way. Alas I fear the state of my desk may not be 100 per cent compliant with fire regulations, and I see I have an obligation "to read, understand and abide by our Treasury Policy, Travel and Expenses Policy and Data Retention and Destruction Policy" – which saps the spirits no end. Yet by comparison to most other codes, the FT's is a work of brevity and precision. At my alma mater, JPMorgan, the new code runs to 50 pages, beginning with a picture of Jamie Dimon smiling angelically and staring into the middle distance. There are further pictures of happy women and black people, as well as one of employees throwing buckets of water over each others' heads. How the latter relates to the commandment that all JPMorgan staff treat each other with dignity, it does not say. The report is an interminable mish-mash of important things and trivial ones – of strict regulations on money laundering and vague waffle about being a good global citizen. Which is nonsensical in a code of conduct. What does it mean? And what business is it of the bank's? I would rather a code that came without the pictures, the values and the cloying letter from the chief executive, but with a simple list of clear commandments. A reasonable start might be: Don't do anything illegal. Don't do anything that fails the Private Eye test – would it look ugly if published in the satirical magazine? Don't do anything that you would be ashamed to tell your colleagues about. The trouble with this is that it misses what a code of conduct is really for – part PR exercise, part excuse for firing anyone who a manager deems to have violated it. Sometimes, as the Bank of England has found out, the trap catches the wrong person. Financial Times Share via Email Share on Google Plus Post on facebook wall Share on twitter Post to Linkedin Share on Reddit Recommended Robert Kelly's toddlers show how pompous we are at work Robert Kelly's toddlers show how pompous we are at work Life changes all the time, except in industrial relations Life changes all the time, except in industrial relations Why the RBA must consider an interest rate rise Why the RBA must consider an interest rate rise Estia Health numbers propped up by 635% spike in unpaid refunds Estia Health numbers propped up by 635% spike in unpaid… 9 rookie mistakes that make bartenders hate you 9 rookie mistakes that make bartenders hate you From Around the Web How nbn™ FTTC is different from FTTN How nbn™ FTTC is different from FTTN National Broadband Network - Australia Got Private Health Insurance? You Should Read This Now! Got Private Health Insurance? You Should Read This Now! Health Insurance Comparison Brand New “Buy” Alert Just Issued Brand New “Buy” Alert Just Issued Motley Fool Australia Looking for the ultimate conference destination? Looking for the ultimate conference destination? 100% Pure New Zealand on BBC.com Why You Should Consider Purchasing Property With Your SMSF Why You Should Consider Purchasing Property With Your SMSF ESuperfund Recommended by Related articles The Pamplona economist working in China 1-Page management, board declare war Power price gouging or policy failure? 10 mins ago The frightening reality of tech-enabled stalking 'Strangling our ability to be agile' Latest Stories Professor John Taylor and Professor Glenn Hubbard, who are both aligned to the Republican Party, said markets had not ... Likely Fed candidates bullish on US economy US President Donald Trump has to deal with an unruly Congress. Trump's next job: avoid government shutdown 28 mins ago Future Super's Simon Sheikh says fossil fuel-free super is no gimmick. The nitty gritty of niche super funds More Read more: http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/codes-of-conduct-are-in-breach-of-common-sense-20170327-gv78ix?&utm_source=social&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn:twi-14omn0055-optim-nnn:nonpaid-27062014-social_traffic-all-organicpost-nnn-afr-o&campaign_code=nocode&promote_channel=social_twitter#ixzz4cYjIMhUO Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

No comments: