When my organization updated its Code of Ethics two years ago, we included a number of Q&As to help employees understand what behaviors we expected them to adopt. We knew that simply sharing our rules and values wasn’t enough. Sometimes, you need to illustrate what a value-in-action looks like.
We didn’t realize it at the time but we were writing the first pages of a playbook. As explained by Robb Osinski in this Forbes article, a handbook is nice but a playbook is better. A handbook will point to the rules and to the resources. A playbook will walk you through, or more accurately walk you out, of an ethical dilemma step-by-step. It’s like a guide who knows her way out of the maze and calmly shows you what turns to take to get out safely.
We should start with a handbook but we should soon follow with a playbook. People often know what the right thing to do is, they just don’t know how to do it. As E&C professionals, if we truly want to help our employees, we need to give them more than rules in a handbook.