Why do we need a Code of Conduct?

Keva Responsibility
Keva Responsibility

Keva’s Board of Directors adopted our updated Code of Conduct in August 2022. Administrative Director Markus Mankin thinks that the Code must not remain mere administration documents. The update work was headed by Compliance officer Jouni Herkama, who emphasises that the Code will be reviewed from time to time to ensure it remains relevant.

Markus Mankin: - The practical effects of the Code of Conduct may not amount to much if it is not actively used or if the personnel are unaware of it.

The Code of Conduct is usually applied in everyday situations: it guides us on the kind of hospitality that is acceptable from service providers, what to do if we are requested to support non-profit activities or whether it is OK to post an article about the employer’s sector on social media.

Jouni Herkama: - Keva’s previous Code of Conduct dated from 2017. The content of the Code has now been explicitly designed for Keva employees to use every day and the principles were significantly condensed and modified for use in a network environment.

Each member of the work community makes daily choices that are guided not just by written norms and instructions but also by their own view as to what is the correct way to act. Since individual views of what constitutes the right choices may vary. The Code of Conduct provides the guidelines needed to assist consideration.

Management shows the way

Mankin: - While the Code of Conduct might not necessarily provide the answer to individual problems, it does form a basis for thoughts and discussion. Members of the work community can use the Code to find a sustainable and consistent way of working. Management, supervisors and compliance add their own important contribution to the discussion.

Management have a key role: “Tone is at the top”. Board members and above all the CEO and Management Group highlight themes that the personnel very easily interpret. Adequate openness, honesty, fairness and a willingness to justify as well as a willingness and ability to understand basic work are very important.

Management must be particularly careful to ensure they comply with the Code of Conduct and adopted guidelines; if they don’t, credibility erodes and the Code of Conduct ultimately has no relevance.

Markus Mankin: - It’s worth thinking what’s important in your own organisation in terms of performance. Have the ways of working of individuals and units already diverged to such an extent that they have become “customised”?

Herkama: - I point out the role and responsibility of each and every Keva employee. Although management, supervisors and compliance can act as the initiators and put matters on the agenda, the most important thing is that for all Keva employees to be able to identify with the Code of Conduct and commit to comply with it.

Large ships turn slowly

Herkama: - A Code of Conduct is part of the operating culture of Keva and other organisations. It’s well known that culture changes slowly and everyday practices easily override lofty goals and written instructions. We at Keva have a strong culture, where people dare to raise and question things.

This is why it is very much hoped that the updated Code of Conduct would already be reflected in our operating culture. I think that we’re progressing one small step at a time. This year, we focused on the process to deal with inappropriate treatment. This is a concrete item on the agenda to improve Keva’s operating culture.

Mankin: - I think the key importance of the Code is in the induction of new employees, who have clearly paid attention to the Code.

We at Keva are quite cautious about expressing our opinion on operating culture and I would like to see more discussion and for Keva employees to be more active in bringing up themes related to operating culture. Also, for example, the personnel survey should measure the change or development in the operating culture.

Code of Conduct also applies to elected officials

Controller Jouni Herkama: Customer service, Legal Affairs, HR, IT and Communications experts were among those invited to consider and work on Keva’s Code of Conduct. Also Keva’s elected officials committed to updating the Code.

The outcome was ten principles which apply not just to Keva employees, but also to members of the Board of Directors and the Councillors.

The Code of Conduct should live and change with the times. The new Code of Conduct was presented to the Board of Directors about a year ago. The Board considered it important that the Code had been updated to respond to changed needs.

Jouni Herkama: - It is of paramount importance to condense the Code of Conduct. The message needs to be in a form that can be easily embraced.

Administrative Director Markus Mankin: - Legislation has entrusted Keva with an important duty and responsibility. From the Board’s perspective, Keva must be managed in a way that preserves our credibility and legitimacy. The Board itself did not hesitate to commit to the Code of Conduct.

Herkama: - I don’t think it would have looked very good if the Code of Conduct applied only to Keva employees. The Councillors and Board make the key decisions regarding Keva’s operations. Keva is a unified actor when the Code applies also to the Board and Keva Councillors,

Next steps

Herkama: - Many Finnish organisations have a condensed external CoC for service providers or goods suppliers and which the organisation’s partners must commit to.

This round of reform focused on working on the Code of Conduct for Keva employees and no separate external supplier code was compiled. We had discussions and considered these types of principles. They strengthen Keva as a socially significant actor.

Mankin: - A supplier CoC is a good tool and very common. Including it as part of the request for a tender forces the supplier to also reflect on their own Code of Conduct.

A supplier CoC requires us to be willing and able to adequately monitor supplier activities. Besides which, a new corporate responsibility regulation requires certain ESG standards to be reached across the value chain.

Jouni Herkama: - We would like to remind everyone at Keva that it’s also a good idea to return to the Code of Conduct after the first reading. We will keep the CoC themes on view in Compliance blogs on Keva’s intranet, for example, and have also planned CoC training videos.

Markus Mankin: - I’ve come up with the idea of a ”Keva’s Code of Conduct in the light of practical examples” event, where there could be discussion or a panel in which supervisors or senior management participate.


For more information, please contact:

Markun Mankin, Administrative Directive, phone +358 40 6701 483, markus.mankin (at) keva.fi

Jouni Herkama, Compliance Officer, phone +358 40 5844 026, jouni.herkama (at) keva.fi