Conflict of interest is common around the world. These are things everyone has already experienced. One of the most common scenarios where this happens is when your wants and needs don’t matter to your parents thus leading you guys to argue. Another could be with some of your friends who want to eat at an expensive restaurant but you just want to eat cheap food for the moment. Conflict of interest is not only present in the real world but also in the corporate one.
In the corporate world, there are always circumstances that people will let their personal biases get in the way of their way. This, on the other hand, does not suit well for companies. They even try their best to avoid these certain situations. In the next few paragraphs, you will read about what is the meaning of conflict of interest, view some templates of it and what are examples that show the conflict of interest and how you can avoid it in the company.
General Template of COI Policy
What is it and what are some examples?
A Conflict of Interest Policy is basically a policy that companies adhere to not let the employees’ forget their responsibilities and let their personal biases get in the way of the company’s interest. Conflict of interest happens when an employee can personally benefit from their position in the workplace. When things like this happen, it won’t only affect the company, but will also ruin the reputation of the parties and involved and would stir a grapevine communication between the employees. Below, we will show you some examples where the conflict of interest happens in the workplace:
- Love in the air. Although sometimes it is unavoidable, some employees will develop feelings for each other and can affect their work performance. One of the most controversial things that can happen is if a manager has a romantic relationship with his/her subordinate. This could lead the manager to be biased whenever his/her partner is involved and the employee would often get special treatment. This won’t go well with other employees and would ruin the manager’s reputation and the person he/she is involved with.
- Family Bias. This happens when family members of the company are favored more in the workplace. Common instances are when a family member won’t have to go through a due process like other employees do and this could stir conflict and more grapevine communication between employees.
- Secrets are open. This is when an employee uses a confidential information that the company or his manager had entrusted to him for his personal gain. One example is when the chef’s who works in a well-known restaurant, quit and build their own business and use and enhance the same ingredients they used in the previous restaurant.
- Favor. This pertains to the situation when an employee is paid by another or a competing company to disclose relevant information so that they can use that to their own advantage. This is common especially if the employee has been treated badly by the company or simply does not feel at home or has low pay and wants to earn money somewhere.
Parts of the Policy
To give you a more clear vision of what compromises the Conflict of Interest Policy, we will provide you the general parts and give them, of course, a definition.
- Definition- This is where the content, meaning and the use of the Conflict of Interest Policy is written.
- Situations- Provide also examples or situations that would depict conflict of interest and make sure it is understandable. By providing situations, the employees will have a better understanding and would not make the definition of the policy too technical and difficult to understand.
- Procedure- Make a standard procedure to what would be the appropriate thing to do if one is deemed in the conflict of interest with the company. It should be a step-by-step guide so that everyone would understand easily. It includes who will be notified first, the forms needed to be filled out, who has the authority to lead the investigation and etc.
Those are just some of the common things found in other Conflict of Interest Policies or in any other policies for that matter. If you’re still having a hard time in writing a Conflict of Interest Policy, you can refer to some of our templates being added here.
If you’re a manager or a supervisor, there are always ways and means on how to prevent these conflict of interests from happening. But take note, this requires a great amount of effort and consistency in order for this to be achieved in the workplace environment.
- Decide. Decide who will write the policy. He has to write in a way it is readable for everybody and is easily understood. At the same time, he also has to understand the general definition of the policy.
- Apply it. This simply means that whoever drafts the policy, it should be stated that it applies to all members of the workforce or in the department.
- State the response. In the policy, the manager should send a strong message to his or her employees about what would happen if one will try to break the rules and not follow them. In addition, there should be a statement in the policy stating the necessary actions that will be taken if ever one decides to violate the policy.
- Train them. Don’t just let them read the policy but also try to act out on it. Give them a team assignment on role-playing what they understood by the policy and explain why such action is labeled as a violation of the policy. Applying something is one of the best options for letting one understand something better.
- Acknowledgement. Make sure to send a copy to all of the employees and make it compulsory to read and understand the policy. After which, you let them sign it which should indicate that they have truly understood the policy.
Drafting policies like this might be tricky but eventually, you would find out later on that it is needed. A lot of bad things can happen if the conflict of interest happens in the office. The reputation of the company and its people are also at stake because someone just decided to turn bias all of the sudden and forgot how others would feel. So, when you draft your policy, if ever you’re planning to make one, make sure it is clear and concise and be firm about it. What I mean by being firm is when you have the ability, regardless of what position you are in the office, to remind the employees of the existence of the policy. With that being consistent, your company will be in good standing.