There is no such thing as too many precautions when it comes to managing conflicts of interest within your company. A written conflict of interest ordinance is an important element that helps a company or organization prevent internal and external conflicts of interest from arising. The Conflicts of Interest Bylaw does more than help you avoid liability in the event of a dispute. It also helps keep employees out of trouble and prevents them from being put in situations that could damage an organization’s reputation and brand if something goes wrong.
If your company does not have a conflict of interest policy in place, employees may not know how to handle conflicts that arise. This makes it much more likely that we will inappropriately respond to certain types of conflicts of interest. Here are his five tips for creating an effective conflict of interest ordinance for your organization.
Tip #1: Identify What Your Organization Needs
Before diving headfirst into creating a conflict of interest ordinance for your organization, you need to identify what you need to achieve. Are you preventing conflict? How to minimize risk? Decide how to handle them? This is important because the Articles of Incorporation should cover specific topics and be tailored to the company’s culture and organizational structure. Writing something down is not enough. It should solve the problem.
Think about what is going on in your organization and write down all conflicts of interest that may or have arisen. If you are unsure of what your problem is, ask an interested party or someone with relevant expertise for help. Then define your needs for each problem. Why is it important to address this issue? What if we don’t do anything about it? What if we do something about it? How can you prevent these problems from occurring in the first place?
Tip #2: Make a plan
To ensure that conflict of interest ordinances are effective, you must plan your attack on how they will be created. There are several ways to do this, many of which vary by organization. However, we recommend that you start by identifying your stakeholders and including them in this stage. Create a to-do list and identify stakeholders who are interested in contributing to or reviewing the bylaws. Before you start writing, it may be helpful to have a meeting with these people so they understand their role and can guide you if needed.
Another important aspect of planning is determining what it takes to complete the project. To do this, you must determine what resources you need, if any. How long does it take? Need to consult a legal expert? Doing this ensures that you have everything you need when you start writing, and reduces the obstacles you encounter while writing.
Tip #3: Train your employees on the new Conflict of Interest Ordinance
Developing a conflict of interest ordinance for your organization is only part of the process. If your bylaws are hidden in a rarely used employee handbook or tucked away in a filing cabinet, they don’t do much for your business. Once the bylaws are approved, you should ensure that your employees are trained on any updates or changes.
Training should cover the new Conflict of Interest Ordinance and any changes made to the old policy. You should also provide some examples of what kinds of activities can cause conflict or perceived conflict. Developing this training plan will help everyone understand how to avoid conflict in the workplace and make informed decisions.
Tip #4: Give your employees access
For the COI Bylaw to be effective, it must be made available to employees when they have questions. This means that employees need to have easy access wherever they are. This is not just courtesy, it is also a necessary safety measure. If staff cannot readily find documentation detailing what constitutes a conflict of interest in the organization, they may be forced to make decisions without knowing all the facts. A great way to do this is to store your policies in a cloud-based system that you can access from anywhere.
Tip #5: Schedule regular reviews of your bylaws
It is important to review the Articles of Incorporation regularly. The frequency you choose will vary, but you should review them at least once a year and if there are organizational changes. Regularly reviewing the Bylaws helps keep us up to date with best practices. Also, by reviewing the bylaws after any significant change to your organization, you can ensure that all policies are aligned with your current needs.
After reviewing the current bylaws and making any necessary changes, it is important to notify employees of the changes so they are aware of any new requirements or restrictions that may affect them. To ensure that all employees have access to the updated version of our Conflict of Interest Policy, we encourage you to send an email notification when changes are made or shortly before they are made.