Workplace Culture

Policy + Code of Conduct resources to help build inclusive environments.

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Wait, what’s inclusivity again?

Diversity is the what, aka who’s on the team.

Inclusivity is the how, aka the way everyone is treated in the workplace.

If you want to attract and retain a diverse team (which studies show make the most high-performing, innovative teams), then you also need to be thinking about how you can create a working environment that:

    • values different experiences, opinions, and worldviews
    • supports all of its members equally to participate and thrive

Find out what you can do to remove prejudicial behaviour, bullying, or other forms of harassment from your workplace.

Step 1

Set the expectations for what acceptable behaviour is on your team. A Code of Conduct is a great way to do this in plain language.

Step 2

Decide what happens if those expectations aren’t met by someone in your work environment. This can be documented in a policy (for example a Health & Safety Policy, or an Employment Agreement).

Codes of Conduct

What is it?
A Code of Conduct is a great way outline your expectations of everyone in your workplace in plain language.

A CoC can cover a very broad spectrum – from general culture elements like “we treat eachother with respect, even when we’re hangry” to site-specific things like “don’t drive the forks without a license”, or Covid prevention practices in these Unprecedented Times™.

That makes Codes of Conduct perfect tools to estabish shared understandings of what things like sexual harassment or racial discrimination look like, even (especially?) in their milder forms.

How do I use one?

A CoC can serve many different purposes.

  1. You can send it to a potential collaborator/work partner before accepting the work with them as a way of prompting a conversation about values and inclusion before you begin.
  2. It can act as part of any contract (written or verbal) that you might have with workers/performers/subcontractors/suppliers. In this case you should send the Code of Conduct both at the time of negotiating/finalising the agreement (even if that’s just in the body of an email), as well as immediately prior to engaging the work or showing up on site.

Your Code of Conduct should be easier to reference than a long wordy policy or contract. It can be a complementary document to a policy or contract, or it can stand alone if neither of those are in play.

SoundCheck Aotearoa has more information on Codes of Conduct here.

Example Codes of Conduct
Code of Conduct Template

Download an editable Copy.

Feel free to adapt to your own purposes and share.

Health + Safety Considerations

Lucky for us, the Heath & Safety At Work Act 2015 (New Zealand) actually considers bullying and harassment to be safety issues and therefore any PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking – basically anyone at work who’s not covered by an employment agreement) is obligated to put measures in place to prevent them.

This means that you can use your health & safety policy as a vehicle for anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment measures if you don’t have employee agreements that do it already. (Soundcheck Aotearoa has developed policy resources that do this here.) 

H+S Policies

The purpose of a Health & Safety policy in the context of an inclusive work culture is primarily as a prompt for you to think through what process you want to follow if someone isn’t living up to your standards of an inclusive workplace.

For example, a H&S Policy can specify the reporting channels and actions to be taken if someone experiences harassment or discrimination. These actions don’t necessarily have to be disciplinary, you may want to include options around mediated discussions or other informal resolutions.

Your H&S Policy doesn’t just codify these processes for you; it also lets anyone who’s working with/for you know what happens and what they can expect if they end up on the giving or receiving end of poor behaviour.

SoundCheck Aotearoa has a great and extensive section on Health & Safety Policies specifically pertaining to sexual harassment in the music industry, including templates for both large and small operators. [needs link]

Toolbox Talks/H&S Briefings

Toolbox talks or daily Health & Safety briefings can be highly effective tools to reiterate expectations of inclusive behaviour in the workplace, alongside any other Health & Safety (or other pertinent) information ahead of the day’s work.

These work best when delivered in plain language, and take into consideration the audience. For example, you might change your tone and vocabulary based on who you’re talking to and what your relationship is with them.

It can be as simple as “we don’t tolerate any kind of harassment or discrimination in this workplace, and if you see it or experience it, I want to know about it no matter who it involves”.

Soundcheck Aotearoa has more information on briefings here.

Dealing with Disclosures and Reporting

A great place to start with establishing a reporting process for yourself/your business is SoundCheck Aotearoa’s work here. You can find templates of reporting policies and while they are targeted at sexual harm, you can extrapolate from these to include all forms of harassment and discrimination.

Key things to remember when someone comes to you with a discrimination or harassment concern:

  1. Listen non-judgmentally to the person; ask questions to find out more about what happened, but be careful not to insinuate that you don’t trust what they’re telling you.
  2. Explain the options available to them, but let them take the lead on how they’d like to resolve the issue.
  3. Remember that in some instances, the other people involved may not be aware of how their actions are affecting people around them; if this is the case, consider approaching it as a teachable moment while being clear that it is not tolerated.
  4. Respect the privacy of everyone involved at all times.


Check out Screensafe’s ‘Receiving Disclosures’: