Although conflicts of interest are not uncommon in the workplace, they can be harmful to a business if they are not appropriately managed.
A conflict of interest exists when an employee’s private interests interfere with their performance of their duties. For example, it may give them a personal advantage. It is important to note a conflict of interest can be an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest.
Some examples of conflict of interest in the workplace include:
- an employee recommending a friend for an advertised position
- an employee starting up their own business on the side with similar products or services
- a supervisor dating a staff member
- a manager not disclosing that a candidate applying for a position is a relative or close friend
- an employee accepting a gift from a supplier in exchange for business over other suppliers
- an employee failing to disclose a second job which conflicts with the business
Creating a code of conduct is one of the best ways to address conflicts of interest. A code of conduct provides guidelines explaining your business’ culture, mission and expectations for professional behaviour. You can include what is classified as a conflict of interest including examples and how they will be managed, i.e., disclosing a conflict of interest to a manager.