Creating Business Policies Affecting Diversity and Ethics

A workplace without rules and values can easily dissolve into an atmosphere of chaos and negativity. As a small-business owner with employees who may have varying opinions regarding diversity and ethics, it’s imperative that you create a structure that includes the company’s stance on these matters.

Understand Diversity

Before you create policies on diversity and ethics, ensure that you have a proper understanding of what each one means. Diversity extends beyond the different races and genders that make up the workplace. It relates to the factors that impact the variances and similarities that employees bring to the business. Ethics apply to the principles that cause people to behave as they do. It applies to their values, the standards of right and wrong, and the choices they make.

Establish Diversity Standards

When creating policies on diversity, your goal should be to formulate an environment that includes and respects differences, even if you or others may not agree with those variances. For example, the policy should promote fairness for all employees regardless of ethnicity, physical abilities, age, gender, geographic location, income, work experience, educational background, parental and marital status, and sexual orientation.

Create Ethical Policies

So your employees know what’s expected of them when dealing with clients, company matters and each other, it’s imperative that you set clear and reasonable ethical standards. People in general are forced to choose between right and wrong on a daily basis. If employees feel that the company’s ethics are unfair, they likely won’t follow them. Use positive keywords, such as trust, quality, integrity and client satisfaction when building ethics policies. In maintaining high ethical standards, you retain good employees and loyal customers.

Document Information

Once you know what you want your diversity and ethics policies to entail, it is time to document them. It’s best to include this information as a separate section of your company handbook so employees can refer to it when necessary. You may type the information via an office suite program and have a printing company print the company handbook. Otherwise, you may type the document on the computer and email it to all of your employees or give them a hard copy. Be specific in everything that you document. Create one section for diversity and another for ethics. Include definitions of each word and show how you want them applied to each aspect of the business.


One of the most important ways to enforce diversity and ethics policies in the workplace is to lead by example. If you fail to follow the rules, so will your employees. Offer resources that can help your employees to maintain the standards you have set, such as company-sponsored diversity and ethics training.