Values shape the culture of every organization. That sounds nice, but what does it actually mean?
A compliance and ethics program is designed to help your company adhere to health care laws and requirements—those are easy to find. But the program is also there to help the company follow ethical principles. Ethical principles help us do the right thing when the situation—or the health care requirement—is complicated. In other words, regulations aren’t enough; we need ethical principles (values) too. What are yours? Are they written down? Has everyone seen them? Much like our weekly calendar or our grocery list, if we don’t write things down, we quickly forget about them.
If you haven’t already, develop a Code of Conduct that tells your organization’s story. Yes, you can Google “Code of Conduct” and find lots of reading material. But make sure you put together a Code of Conduct that tells your values, not somebody else’s. If you aren’t sure what your organization values, ask. What ethical principles are important to your leaders? Your supervisors? The staff doing the hardest work? Getting feedback will help your Code resonate with the people expected to follow it.
Once your Code of Conduct is in place, formalize your commitment to these values with a board resolution or letter from the President/CEO. Then, it’s time to share your Code and this signed commitment from leadership with employees, with contractors, and the public (put it on your website!)
These documents are some of the first opportunities you have to show employees what matters to you. If you know your values, you can share your values, and watch your culture of compliance grow. When someone is faced with a potential compliance problem, the Code will be there to guide them.
To read all posts in the Compliance Culture Building Blocks series, click here.