My oldest started kindergarten this week and since she was out making new friends I decided it was probably time for me to get out of my comfort zone (aka, “the house”) and try to make some friends of my own (aka, “networking”). I hear it’s pretty critical for small business success.
In addition to my cozy work-from-home set-up, I have an immensely convenient co-working spot around the corner, Blush Cowork. This week I headed over there for a quiet morning and some training on “Creating a Safe and Inclusive Workspace”, sponsored by Ellevate. Our instructor/facilitator was liftUPlift co-creator Corielle Laaspere, who did a great job directing an insightful introduction and conversation that included 5 female small-business owners. It was so great to observe and chat with these empowered and intelligent women, each with their own missions and striving to improve the world in their own way.
Corielle offered some great information and resources, and the conversation she facilitated reminded me how important it was for me to write my code of conduct and define my own mission and values. Sure, I talk about them to my husband, and I think about them lying in bed at night. But when it comes to it, what good are these statements if they’re not written down and shared? My midnight musings won’t hold me to account, or provide processes when I’m faced with a real-world scenario. So, armed with Corielle’s template for Safe and Inclusive Workplace Policy, and my own experience collaborating on “Code of Conduct” drafts, I dove in.
If you’ve ever had to do a class project or some HR training where you make up your own Mission and Values statement maybe you have some sense for the trepidation with which I approached this exercise. I expected this to feel silly and trite. In reality, it was the opposite: exciting and empowering.
To start, I’m very determined that the cornerstone of my company should be to help and support people in any way I can. One day I’ll do an absurdist blog post on all the company names I tried to come up with to advance this concept. Here, I wanted to write my Code of Conduct and my Mission and Vision statements with thought to my users experiences and achievements. And while I don’t have any employees, my time in management made it a pleasure to imagine how I might be able to support and protect my own team one day.
It felt so great to codify all the things I consider priorities into a statements that represent my beliefs, and which I can one day look back to when I’m not sure of next steps.
I will end on a caveat that, while I am no HR professional, I know that your Code of Conduct needs an audit and revision from time to time (much like your IT if you’re a small business!). While I hope what I’ve written gives me a frame of reference for how to respond in any situation, I’m sure I’ll continue to learn new things and find places where the statement should be more explicit.
A huge thank you again to Corielle and the other women in our training this week for their insights. If you’re looking for direction I would recommend the SHRM website where I got some language for the Code of Conduct. And, as always, thank you to DocChewbacca for my graphics.