AWA’s professional ethics are informed by Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs, along with Gemma Honour’s House of Professional Ethics model, which was created as part of the AWA Innovation and Leadership Mastery Program.
This policy covers common ethical situations in business. However, it is not possible to consider every possible ethical dilemma. When faced with an ethical decision, consider the key principles of confidentiality, honesty, respect, equity and equality, diversity and inclusion.
Ethics Policy – Do the Right Thing
Several key questions can help identify situations that may be unethical, inappropriate or illegal. Ask yourself:
- Does what I am doing comply with the AWA guiding principles, Code of Conduct and company policies?
- Have I been asked to misrepresent information or deviate from normal procedure?
- Would I feel comfortable describing my decision at a staff meeting?
- How would it look if it made the headlines?
- Am I being loyal to my family, my company and myself?
- What would I tell my child to do?
- Is this the right thing to do?
Asking ethical questions
At AWA, everyone should feel comfortable to speak their mind, particularly with respect to ethics concerns. Managers have a responsibility to create an open and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable raising such questions. We all benefit tremendously when employees exercise their power to prevent mistakes or wrongdoing by asking the right questions at the right times.
AWA will investigate all reported instances of questionable or unethical behaviour. In every instance where improper behaviour is found to have occurred, the company will take appropriate action. We will not tolerate retaliation against employees who raise genuine ethical concerns in good faith.
Employees are encouraged, in the first instance, to address such issues with their manager, as most problems can be resolved swiftly. If for any reason that is not possible or if an employee is not comfortable raising the issue with their manager, AWA’s Directors and Founder operate an open-door policy.
Managers must be responsible for promptly addressing ethical questions or concerns raised by employees and for taking the appropriate steps to deal with such issues. Managers should not consider employees’ ethics concerns as threats or challenges to their authority, but rather as another encouraged form of business communication. At AWA, we want the ethics dialogue to become a natural part of daily work.
Laws, rules & regulations
AWA’s commitment to integrity begins with complying with laws, rules and regulations where we do business. Further, each of us must have an understanding of the company policies, laws, rules and regulations that apply to our specific roles. If we are unsure of whether a contemplated action is permitted by law or AWA policy, we should seek advice from the resource expert. We are responsible for preventing violations of the law and for speaking up if we see possible violations.
AWA are dedicated to ethical, fair and vigorous competition. We will sell AWA services based on their merit, superior quality, functionality and competitive pricing. AWA will make independent pricing and marketing decisions and will not improperly cooperate or coordinate our activities with our competitors. We will not offer or solicit improper payments or gratuities in connection with the purchase of goods or services for AWA or the sales of its products or services, nor will we engage or assist in unlawful boycotts of particular customers.
It is important that we respect the property rights of others. We will not acquire or seek to acquire by improper means a competitor’s trade secrets or other proprietary or confidential information. We will not engage in unauthorised use, copying, distribution or alteration of software or other intellectual property.
Nor will we selectively disclose (whether in one-on-one or small discussions, meetings, presentations, proposals or otherwise) any material nonpublic information with respect to AWA, its securities, business operations, plans, financial condition, results of operations or any development plan. We should be particularly vigilant when making presentations or proposals to customers to ensure that our presentations do not contain material nonpublic information.
Conflicts of Interest
We must avoid any relationship or activity that might impair or appear to impair, our ability to make objective and fair decisions when performing our jobs. At times, we may be faced with situations where the business actions we take on behalf of AWA may conflict with our own personal or family interests. We owe a duty to AWA to advance its legitimate interests when the opportunity to do so arises. We must never use AWA property or information for personal gain or personally take for ourselves any opportunity that is discovered through our position with AWA.
Determining whether a conflict of interest exists is not always easy to do. Employees with a conflict of interest question should seek advice from leadership. Before engaging in any activity, transaction or relationship that might give rise to a conflict of interest, employees must seek review from leadership.
Gifts, Gratuities and Business Courtesies
AWA is committed to competing solely on the merit of our products and services. We should avoid any actions that create a perception that favourable treatment of outside entities by AWA was sought, received or given in exchange for personal business courtesies. Business courtesies include gifts, gratuities, meals, refreshments, entertainment or other benefits from persons or companies with whom AWA does or may do business. We will neither give nor accept business courtesies that constitute, or could reasonably be perceived as constituting, unfair business inducements that would violate the law, regulation or policies of AWA or customers, or would cause embarrassment or reflect negatively on AWA’s reputation.
Accepting Business Courtesies
Most business courtesies offered to us in the course of our employment are offered because of our positions at AWA. We should not feel any entitlement to accept and keep a business courtesy. Although we may not use our position at AWA to obtain business courtesies, and we must never ask for them, we may accept unsolicited business courtesies that promote successful working relationships and goodwill with the firms that AWA maintains or may establish a business relationship with.
Employees who award contracts or who can influence the allocation of business, who create specifications that result in the placement of business or who participate in the negotiation of contracts must be particularly careful to avoid actions that create the appearance of favouritism or that may adversely affect the company’s reputation for impartiality and fair dealing. The prudent course is to refuse a courtesy from a supplier when AWA is involved in choosing or reconfirming a supplier or under circumstances that would create an impression that offering courtesies is the way to obtain AWA business.
Meals, Refreshments and Entertainment
We may accept occasional meals, refreshments, entertainment and similar business courtesies that are shared with the person who has offered to pay for the meal or entertainment, provided that:
- They are not inappropriately lavish or excessive.
- The courtesies are not frequent and do not reflect a pattern of frequent acceptance of courtesies from the same person or entity.
- The courtesy does not create the appearance of an attempt to influence business decisions, such as accepting courtesies or entertainment from a supplier whose contract is expiring in the near future.
- The employee accepting the business courtesy would not feel uncomfortable discussing the courtesy with his or her manager or co-worker or having the courtesies known by the public.
Employees may accept unsolicited gifts, other than money, that conform to the reasonable ethical practices of the marketplace, including:
- Flowers, fruit baskets and other modest presents to commemorate a special occasion.
- Gifts of nominal value, such as calendars, pens, mugs, caps and t-shirts (or other novelty, advertising or promotional items).
Generally, employees may not accept compensation, honoraria or money of any amount from entities with whom AWA does or may do business. Tangible gifts (including tickets to a sporting or entertainment event) that have a market value greater than £100 may not be accepted unless approval is obtained from leadership.
Employees with questions about accepting business courtesies should talk to their leadership.
Offering Business Courtesies
Any employee who offers a business courtesy must be sure that it cannot reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to gain an unfair business advantage or otherwise reflect negatively upon AWA. An employee may never use personal funds or resources to do something that cannot be done with AWA resources. Accounting for business courtesies must be done in accordance with approved company procedures.
Other than to our government customers, for whom special rules apply, we may provide nonmonetary gifts (i.e., company logo apparel or similar promotional items) to our customers. Further, management may approve other courtesies, including meals, refreshments or entertainment of reasonable value, provided that:
- The practice does not violate any law or regulation or the standards of conduct of the recipient’s organisation.
- The business courtesy is consistent with industry practice, is infrequent in nature and is not lavish.
- The business courtesy is properly reflected on the books and records of AWA.
Set Metrics and Report Results Accurately
Accurate Public Disclosures
We will make certain that all disclosures made in financial reports and public documents are full, fair, accurate, timely and understandable. This obligation applies to all employees, including all financial executives, with any responsibility for the preparation of such reports, including drafting, reviewing and signing or certifying the information contained therein. No business goal of any kind is ever an excuse for misrepresenting facts or falsifying records.
Employees should inform leadership if they learn that information in any filing or public communication was untrue or misleading at the time it was made or if subsequent information would affect a similar future filing or public communication.
We create, retain and dispose of our company records as part of our normal course of business in compliance with all AWA policies and guidelines, as well as all regulatory and legal requirements.
All corporate records must be true, accurate and complete, and company data must be promptly and accurately entered into our books in accordance with AWA’s and other applicable accounting principles.
We must not improperly influence, manipulate or mislead any unauthorised audit, nor interfere with any auditor engaged to perform an internal independent audit of AWA books, records, processes or internal controls.
Promote Substance Over Form
At times, we are all faced with decisions we would rather not have to make and issues we would prefer to avoid. Sometimes, we hope that if we avoid confronting a problem, it will simply go away.
At AWA, we must have the courage to tackle tough decisions and make difficult choices, secure in the knowledge that AWA is committed to doing the right thing. At times this will mean doing more than simply what the law requires. Merely because we can pursue a course of action does not mean we should do so.
Although AWA’s guiding principles cannot address every issue or provide answers to every dilemma, they can define the spirit in which we intend to do business and should guide us in our daily conduct.
Each of us is responsible for knowing and adhering to the values and standards set forth in this Code and for raising questions if we are uncertain about company policy. If we are concerned whether the standards are being met or are aware of violations of the Code, we must contact leadership.
AWA takes seriously the standards set forth in the Code, and violations are cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Confidential and Proprietary Information
Integral to AWA’s business success is our protection of confidential company information, as well as nonpublic information entrusted to us by employees, customers and other business partners. Confidential and proprietary information includes such things as pricing and financial data, customer names/addresses or nonpublic information about other companies, including current or potential suppliers and vendors. We will not disclose confidential and nonpublic information without a valid business purpose and proper authorisation.
Use of Company Resources
Company resources, including time, material, equipment and information, are provided for company business use. Nonetheless, occasional personal use is permissible as long as it does not affect job performance or cause a disruption to the workplace.
Employees and those who represent AWA are trusted to behave responsibly and use good judgment to conserve company resources. Managers are responsible for the resources assigned to their departments and are empowered to resolve issues concerning their proper use.
Generally, we will not use company equipment such as computers, copiers and fax machines in the conduct of an outside business or in support of any religious, political or other outside daily activity, except for company-requested support to nonprofit organisations. We will not solicit contributions nor distribute non-work related materials during work hours.
To protect the interests of the AWA network and our fellow employees, AWA reserves the right to monitor or review all data and information contained on an employee’s company-issued computer or electronic device, or the use of the Internet. We will not tolerate the use of company resources to create, access, store, print, solicit or send any materials that are harassing, threatening, abusive, sexually explicit or otherwise offensive or inappropriate.
Questions about the proper use of company resources should be directed to your manager.
AWA is a high-profile company in our community, and from time to time, employees may be approached by reporters and other members of the media. In order to ensure that we speak with one voice and provide accurate information about the company, we should direct all media inquiries to the Marketing Director. No one may issue a press release without first consulting with the Marketing Director.