Employees’ worrying lack of knowledge about, and respect for, the professional standards they are required to uphold were revealed today, in a new survey commissioned by the Chartered Management Institute. 

The research, undertaken amongst 1,000 employees, found that nearly 25% have never read their employer’s or professional body’s code of standards or conduct. What’s more, nearly a quarter of employees have knowingly broken professional guidelines at work, with men significantly more likely to do so than their female counterparts (30% vs 19%).

The survey also revealed that of those belonging to a professional body (74%), 21% didn’t know if there was a code of standards or conduct that they were required to follow.

However, despite this lack of knowledge, nearly 60% of those surveyed would think better of a manager if they made an effort to abide by professional guidelines at work, demonstrating that codes of practice provide a helpful basis for company leaders to set an example for others.

The results are released as CMI announces that it is helping its members to do just that, by updating its Code of Conduct and reminding them of the values of abiding by it. Following a review by CMI’s Professional Standards Committee (PSC), CMI’s ‘Code of Professional Conduct and Practice’ has been updated and renamed as the ‘Code of Practice for Professional Managers’.

The new code is more concise, uses more accessible language and focuses on the important place of integrity and trust and the role of responsible leadership. Stronger references are also made to the important areas of diversity and corporate responsibility.

Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of CMI said: “As the only chartered professional body dedicated to raising standards of management and leadership in all sectors of UK commerce and industry, it is imperative that CMI’s own professional guidelines are clear, concise and accessible. Our research shows that managers who make an effort to stick to professional guidelines gain the respect of their teams. By updating our own code we’re therefore helping managers to set a great example and giving them the tools they need to succeed.”

New Members are being asked to sign up to the code when they join and members of the CMI also sign up to the code when they review their memberships annually.