You’re driving to a wedding. You thought the directions to the address were clear but suddenly nothing looks familiar. You drive in circles, turning the directions over and over in your mind as you anxiously watch the hands of the clock. Finally, in a moment of clarity, you remember the road map in your glove box. Quickly, you re-orient yourself to your current location and arrive breathlessly just as the ceremony begins.
Like a good road map, our company’s Code of Ethics can help you get your bearings in a tough situation. Our Code is a navigation tool specifically designed to guide your daily decisions in the right direction. But just like the map in the glove box, the Code won’t help if it’s sitting on the shelf in your office. To reap its benefits you have to understand its contents, and access it when needed.
The Code As a Road Map
Our Code is a road map for ethical behavior on the job. It outlines BBNC’s expectations and the responsibility of each employee. It summarizes our policies and procedures about important topics such as Harassment, Conflicts of Interest, Workplace Violence, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, and Confidential Information. The Code applies not only to employees but also to our company’s officers and directors. It is distributed internally to every employee as well as available on our employee-focused site InfoNet.
How to Use the Code
Just like the road map, the Code is a resource. Here are some ways to use the Code that may make your trip easier.
-Become very familiar with those sections that relate directly to your job.
-Ask for clarification on sections that may be unclear to you.
-The Code contains resources that can answer your questions and for reporting issues and concerns. Review the code and decide where you would turn first, and second, if you had a concern.
If you are a supervisor or manager:
-Consider ways to help your direct reports understand the topics in the Code and to realize that the Code is a resource for ethical decisions.
-Determine which topics of the Code present higher risk for your work group. These are the areas where you will need to provide the most guidance in order to avoid problems.
-Check your own behavior to be sure that you are applying the policies in the Code evenly and accurately no matter who is involved.
-Practice ethical decision-making. Include consideration of ethics, our guiding principles, policies and laws in every decision that you make. Be a model of ethical action by ensuring that employees around you or your direct reports know that you always include ethical considerations in your decisions.
Reaching Our Destination
Our Code of Ethics sends a clear message about where our company is today and what our emphasis is as we move down the road toward the future. When you read, understand, and reflect the Code in your decisions, you are protecting our company’s good reputation and demonstrating our company values. If you have any doubts or questions, always ask for guidance from your supervisor, HR, or the Compliance Department.
Question & Answer
I can’t find my copy of the Code of Ethics. How do I get a new one?
Contact your supervisor, HR, or the Compliance Department. The Code is also available here.
My work is very specialized and I have received training on many applicable laws and regulations. What should I pay attention to, the Code of Ethics or these specialized regulations?
You need to pay attention to both! The laws and regulations that govern your work are more detailed and therefore should be carefully applied on the job. Our Code guides your decision-making in a more generic way, but is no less important. Nothing in our Code violates the law, and vice-versa.
My job brings me into constant contact with outside vendors and suppliers. On occasion, they suggest “creative” solutions that would be good deals for our company, but might be considered violations of our Code of Ethics. How do I respond to these?
Any business deal that’s a violation of our Code is unacceptable, no matter how “creative” it is. Companies with whom we do business need to understand our commitment to integrity. The short-term benefits of unethical solutions never outweigh the long-term harm done to our company’s reputation.
I’m in a situation that doesn’t seem to be covered by any of the examples in our Code. What should I do?
If you have a question that isn’t answered by our Code of Conduct, ask your supervisor. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable asking him or her about the situation, contact HR or the Compliance Department.