In October 2016, global mining company Anglo American launched a new Code of Conduct that articulates what the organisation stands for. The Code is not just a compliance driven exercise; it is strategically positioned as a positive commitment to the organisation’s values in action, providing a consistent behavioural approach that is relevant to everyone in the business and not just those working in high-risk areas. The Code is illustrated creatively as a compass, with the central theme: choose to do the right thing.
Over the past year, the business has worked to embed the Code across operations that span North and South America, South Africa and Australia. Starting with the leadership team, it has prepared leaders to be accountable for implementation, to act as role models and to provide inspirational moments for their people. The programme has also created opportunities for
conversations among leaders about what the Code means for them, both individually and as a team. This ‘wisdom of crowds’ approach has ensured that leaders have the opportunity to debate what is right and what is wrong in specific behavioural situations.
The leadership team, from the board to the frontline bosses, have each spent time in workshops to discuss potential dilemmas with their peers. Each dilemma is grounded in reality. They challenge people to make the right choice in a difficult situation when values may be pitched against each other. For example, one element of the Code relates to conducting business with integrity while another is about prioritising health, safety and the environment.
The ‘dilemma’ might be choosing between paying a bribe or potentially compromising the safety of colleagues. Pocket sized mini Code and innovative animations are also available.
After each workshop, feedback is collected that tests understanding, confidence and how well equipped the leaders feel. (Six months after completing the workshops, leaders will undergo an innovative exercise to test how embedded the Code is in their behaviour.)
To date, more than 100 workshops have taken place and 99 per cent of participant were positive that they understand how to use the Code to guide decision making. Each leader is now responsible for rolling out the programme to the company’s 87,000 employees, who have varying degrees of educational attainment and literacy.
‘A strong entry tackling a critical business issue across a multinational audience, and using tone from the top and leadership to drive face to face workshops,’ said the judges. ‘A superb focus on real engagement through conversation. This is how genuine culture change takes place.’