People in California know that building a lasting and successful business requires hard work, skills and character. Many cynics may not necessarily equate success in business as requiring strong moral character, but the most established and trustworthy construction firms in the state are built on strong morals from top to bottom. In this business, trustworthiness is everything, and having a reputation for anything other than honesty and integrity can cost a business job opportunities and hurt its bottom line.
When building a business, construction owners and operators want to hold their employees to the same high standards they follow themselves. Building institutional integrity doesn't happen overnight, but it does start at the top. A business owner who hires likeminded and trustworthy employees and holds them accountable and responsible for their behavior is likely to see these employees spread this integrity throughout their own activities, bridging the gap from upper level management to newly hired laborers.
Ethics and compliance don't happen by themselves, and they become harder to institute once bad habits have been given the opportunity to take root. Managers can't always be there to police every last one of their employees, but they can hold their employees and supervisors to a code of ethics. Working with an attorney to draw up a company ethics and behavior policy may be just as important to the company as the documents of incorporation. Management and active shareholders of a corporation have a duty to act ethically, and so should employees.
Advertising and adhering to the code of ethics is good policy for any business where honesty and integrity are essential, but there may be other advantages. For one thing, it may provide legal protection for management if a subordinate acts in a way that deviates from the stated code of ethics. It may also protect the image and reputation of the company against the allegations of competitors. A code of ethics and conduct should be essential for every business start-up, but it is never too late to start. Whatever the motivation, talking to an attorney about establishing a code of conduct may be a good idea.
Source: American Bar Association "Under Construction Newsletter - Code of Conduct" accessed Aug. 30, 2015