Companies who are embarking on a Code rewrite often ask if there are good Codes they can look to as templates or models.
Here are three things I appreciate about the Shire Code:
1. It features professional-quality design.
I’ve seen more than one great Code rewrite hampered by a decision to skimp on design. So I appreciate the level of design expertise and thought that went into the Shire Code.
Here’s what I notice:
2. It’s written in simple, clear language.
Too many Codes and compliance communications sound as if they were being spoken by the company rather than a person.
Yes, the Code is a formal document, but readers won’t connect with a disembodied voice.
The writing in the Shire Code is direct and personal—and directed right at the reader. (The word “you” appears 164 times in 36 pages).
Even complex ideas are explained in simple, straightforward language. (A fourth grader could parse most of these sentences.)
This focus on simplicity and clarity has the added benefit of forcing the Code to get specific. How can you avoid a conflict of interest at work? Well, here are 4 actions to take, 6 examples of additional conflicts to watch for, a note about joining boards, and a list of additional policies where you can find more information.
The result is an easy-to-understand, easy-to-reference document full of useful information and guidance.
3. The writers take time to set context.
In the early days of compliance programs, most Codes of Conduct quickly announced it was important to follow the law and act with integrity—and then launched into a list of rules.
Alternately, Shire does a good job of explaining WHY the Code is important and why following its guidance matters—not just once, but in different places and in different ways:
A 1989 Harvard study showed that people were nearly 50% more likely to respond favorably to a request if it included a “because” statement.
All this context-setting in the Shire Code adds up to a powerful “because” —making it much more likely to persuade its audience.
How does your Code of Conduct measure up? If you’re ready to add professional quality design, clear language, and context to your Code, we can help. Schedule a free consultation with the Rethink Compliance experts.
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