Last week, we kicked off our two-part Rockin' Codes Q&A. In part one, Meghan Daniels and Suzan McGinnis talked about top Code of conduct trends and how often you should update your Code. If you missed it, you can check it out here.
This week, Meghan and Suzan are back with part two of their conversation. Meghan shares her top three recommendations for anyone embarking on a Code rewrite and redesign. Meghan has led more than 50 Code projects, so she's seen it all!
Three Tips for A Successful Code of Conduct Revamp
1. Have a vision for how you want your Code to look and feel.
This includes the format and design, as well as the communication style and tone. Meghan recommends starting with some research. Look at Codes from other companies out there to see which ones could work for your brand and audience. Then review communications you've rolled out to employees in the past. What has been successful? What hasn't?
Your vision should also address how employees will access the Code and which format is best for your audience, whether it's a PDF or a digital flipbook or a website. The format will influence many of your design and content decisions, so it's important to prepare for it up front.
2. Get buy-in and support.
Clients always want to know: How long is my Code project going to take? The answer is that it depends — on average, we're able to take a Code from blank page to rollout in about six months, with our fastest taking two months and the longest taking two years. In the majority of cases, the biggest variable is the amount of time it takes getting internal stakeholders aligned.
Getting buy-in from key stakeholders in your company is critical to a successful Code rollout. The Code is a public document, so you're likely to hear a lot of opinions from across the business — the CEO, the Board, senior management, subject matter experts, and even your marketing department.
As Meghan points out, people get on board with something when they've had an opportunity to provide feedback. Getting the right people involved up front can save you a lot of time and frustration later in the project. (Psst, partnering with the right vendor can also really help. Here at Rethink, we've developed proven strategies for stakeholder management, freeing you up to focus on the bigger picture.)
3. Write for your vision and design.
For those of us with legal backgrounds, it can be easy to get caught up in the substance of the Code and forget to think about how that fits into the design. Work with your designers from the early stages and throughout the process to make sure you have a consistent look and feel throughout the Code.
And remember: write for the way you want your audience to use the Code. We recommend breaking the Code into modular sections that are easy to reference and navigate. Use the language your employees use so they can quickly find the answers to any questions that come up. Write in clear, direct sentences so that your readers can understand exactly what's expected of them.