When a situation arises that benefits an employee while affecting your company, it becomes a conflict of interest. And employees are bound through your company’s code of conduct to act in the interests of their employer and not for their own personal gain.
It’s best for employees not to enter into a situation where their actions might create a conflict, whether it’s actual, potential or perceived, without disclosing the information.
So what are some examples of situations your employees might find themselves in?
Unfortunately, employees aren’t always able to recognize these conflicts of interest because many times the situation seems innocent or they don’t realize what’s happening is against the code of conduct.
To teach them what to do when they come across a conflict of interest, there are several different strategies you can use:
Your company should have a code of conduct or employee handbook that addresses conflicts of interest along with other ethical situations an employee might come across. For example, it can address how employees should respond to issues concerning bribery, data protection, confidential information and social media.
Business ethics training covers the exact same messaging as your code of conduct in a different way that helps employees retain the information. With training, you can provide scenarios to employees and help guide them to making the right choice when a conflict of interest arises.
Even if an employee is aware of a conflict of interest, they still need to be encouraged to disclose it to your company. Creating formal reporting policies allows employees to have an open channel of communication where they are able to ask questions.
Employees don’t always recognize conflicts of interest in the workplace. It’s your job to help them identify ethical dilemmas and make the correct decisions. There are several strategies you can use, including business standards, business ethics training and formal reporting procedures.
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