Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Ethics training catches on in a big way

April 2008

The proportion of British companies training staff in business ethics has increased dramatically over the past three years. A new study shows 71 per cent of FTSE 350 businesses now provide training on their ethical codes, compared with 47 per cent in 2004.

Explaining the codes at induction sessions is the most common method, used by 86 per cent of businesses that provide training. In addition, 35 per cent use the intranet to inform staff about the issues.

Philippa Foster Back, director of the Institute of Business Ethics, which conducted the study, said the findings were ‘heartening’, and suggested one reason for the improvement was that more company boards were taking a direct interest in the role of codes of business ethics. Two-thirds of boards now receive reports on the effectiveness of such codes, compared with below 20 per cent three years ago – and directors in 27 per cent of companies take direct responsibility for the ethics policy, slightly up on 2004.

Almost half of respondents said they asked legal departments or company secretaries to administer the code, and only ten per cent placed that duty within corporate responsibility departments.

Other data showed that:
 electronic copies of codes are now preferred for communicating ethical standards to staff
 95 per cent of companies with codes provide a means for employees to raise ethical concerns confidentially, compared with 89 per cent in 2004
seven out of ten include conformity to the code in their employment contracts, compared with 62 per cent in 2004.

The Institute has conducted its study on codes of ethics every three years since 1995.

Institute of Business Ethics | UK & NI Ireland | Ethical Trading

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