RAIDBOXES promotes constructive teamwork, see the first part of our series of articles on mental health and non-violent communication. To ensure that this succeeds despite the growing number of our employees, we have jointly drawn up a code of conduct: The RAIDBOXES Code of Conduct. You are welcome to use it as a template to strengthen your own team.
What is a code of conduct and why is it important?
The RAIDBOXES Code of Conduct (see definition on Wikipedia) is a code of conduct. It contains guidelines and expectations on how we want to shape the interaction and communication within the team. It thus expands the following values and standards of RAIDBOXES with concrete recommendations for action:
With the help of the guidelines, these values should be integrated into everyday life in a sustainable and equal manner. The code of conduct is not just a long list of things we shouldn't do, however. Instead, it is a tool that reminds us to foster a working culture based on mutual consideration, active communication and trust. It applies to all employees as well as freelancers working for RAIDBOXES. The guidelines cover communication in the office, in Slack, (online) meetings, remote setups, team events, at WordCamps and other events. It also concerns direct personal conversations or chat services.
The foundations of the Code of Conduct were developed by the Mental Health and Equality teams, based on the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) workshops. However, it is a document that "lives". The Mental Health or Equality roles take suggestions or requests for change from RAIDBOXES staff and feed them into the whole team.
This is the full wording of the RAIDBOXES code of conduct as addressed to our employees:
RAIDBOXES code of conduct
1. Treat all employees with kindness and respect at all times
This includes listening to and respecting each other's point of view at all times, even in conflict situations. An example is letting the other person finish speaking. You should give honest feedback to avoid misunderstandings. Respectful, considerate and cooperative interaction also means responding to every request within a reasonable time, regardless of the channel through which it comes. If you are working, this means within 24 hours at the latest.
2. Awareness of a diverse team
RAIDBOXES is growing and becoming more diverse. We strive to create a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for everyone - regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ability or disability, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), age, social or economic status. Avoid statements and actions that could personally hurt others. Any form of discriminatory, derogatory or exclusionary language has no place at RAIDBOXES and you should ensure your statements and conduct reflect this.
3. Respond to different needs
Be attentive to understand the lifestyles, personalities and attitudes of your colleagues and see them as opportunities to be respected and protected. In your communication, take into account the relationship you have with a person. Behave professionally towards your colleagues. Casual manners are fine and desirable, but you should not assume consent without reflection, especially when dealing with new employees. Be aware of the boundaries of your counterpart and respect them. Actively contribute to making everyone feel welcome in the team with your tone and behaviour. If in doubt, ask.
4. Mindful communication
This includes clear, active, considerate and empathic communication, as we regularly practice in the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) train ings. Use these trainings as needed to reflect on your behavior or the behavior of teams. Refrain from using violent language.
5. Address and accept conflicts
The Holacracy way in which we organize ourselves allows maximum freedom. At the same time, it is not free of conflicts. Even the cooperation at RAIDBOXES can generate disagreements. Address such conflicts directly; this is expressly encouraged at RAIDBOXES and is part of our corporate culture. Address the persons concerned directly. Clearly state when you disagree with a statement or action. Only if all this does not work, then proactively look for ways to resolve the conflict (such as the GFK trainings, Mental Health & Mediation or the role of equality).
6. Documentation and orientation
Put agreements in writing so that positive cooperation and communication last. Conflict resolution should also lead to a concrete goal or result. If necessary, use examples to make your communication clearer. Signal to your counterpart if you want to have the result documented.
7. Requests and time out
Ask the other person again if you don't understand a statement or action. Say "stop" if an action doesn't correspond to your values. You can always ask for time to reflect, e.g. in a meeting to first gather your thoughts and respond to a statement at a later point. Let your colleagues know this is what you want to do, however, and don't just stall the communication.
8. Constructive approach
Use "I" messages instead of "you/we/man" (see the basics of Nonviolent Communication). Use the "we" message only if there is already an agreed consensus in the team. Work with positive and concrete formulations as well as with non-violent language. You can use the GFK model Observe -> Feelings -> Needs -> Request Action in conflicts. Mental Health and NVC also support you in this.
Always communicate as transparently as possible. Things that are mentioned to you in confidence should nevertheless remain confidential. Perhaps you can encourage colleagues to clarify these to a wider circle of people. Don't talk about others or about another team behind their backs, even if there is tension. Always involve the person or team directly. Remind your colleagues of this value if you encounter such behavior because it is unfair and causes trouble.
10. Respect for different ways of working and living
There are different ways in which employees and teams organize their work or structure their own personal work-life balance. Make sure that none of these ways are discredited or played off against each other in your statements.
11. Open cooperation
This code of conduct should not lead to employees feeling they're no longer allowed to raise certain issues or topics. Employees need to be confident they'll receive honest and constructive feedback. Speak up at any time if a statement or act doesn't correspond to your values or those of the code of conduct. This is the only way to keep communication open and to involve everyone as much as possible.
12. Remembering shared values
What happens when you encounter behavior, directed towards yourself or others, that isn't in line with the values of RAIDBOXES? In such cases, you're invited to remind your colleagues about our shared values at RAIDBOXES and refer to the code of conduct. Everyone at RAIDBOXES should take action. It is our joint responsibility and common goal to shape the way we work together in a positive way.
Support for the guidelines
What can you do as an employee of RAIDBOXES if you notice a violation of the code of conduct towards yourself or others?
- Express your impression directly. In this way, communication can be improved directly and misunderstandings can be clarified. You are met with a lack of understanding? Then remind them directly of the value of transparency or "direct address". Your proactive and responsible action is important to us here, so that something changes in the long term. If you do not succeed or if you are unsure, then use the exercises on NVC. Or ask the Mental Health role which methods you can use to strengthen your communication.
- Make constructive suggestions on how to avoid conflict situations in the future (for example: Honest feedback, new format, different round of participants, regular documented agreements, introduce as an exercise in NVC, etc.).
- Point out to your colleagues if discussions develop into negative and unconstructive language.
- Remind your team that the Code of Conduct is a positive tool for open design, not a tool for bullying. Have suggestions for improving the Code? Then speak to the Mental Health and Equality roles at any time.
- If nothing else helps or you need support: contact your team leads, senior management or the Mental Health and Equality roles.