“Gamification, Role-Playing and Upstander Training: How Code of Conduct Programs are Making a Difference in Corporate Social Responsibility”

"Gamification, Role-Playing and Upstander Training: How Code of Conduct Programs are Making a Difference in Corporate Social Responsibility"

Code of Conduct Training Programs: A Case Study

Corporate social responsibility has become a top priority for many companies in recent years. Businesses are aware that they have a duty not only to their shareholders but also to the wider society and environment. One area where this is particularly important is in ensuring that all employees understand and follow the company’s code of conduct. In this post, we will examine some case studies of code of conduct training programs and assess their effectiveness.

Case Study 1: Google

Google is known for its innovative approach to business, which extends to how it trains its employees on its code of conduct. The company uses an online game called “Interland” to teach employees about ethics, privacy, and security. The game consists of four different lands – Reality River, Mindful Mountain, Tower of Treasure, and Kind Kingdom – each with specific challenges related to ethical behavior.

For example, in the Kind Kingdom land, players must navigate through a maze while picking up coins along the way. However, if they collect too many coins (i.e., engage in unethical behavior), they get kicked out of the kingdom.

The game is designed for children aged 8-12 as part of Google’s Be Internet Awesome program. However, it has been adapted for adults as part of Google’s internal training program.


According to Google’s Chief Culture Officer Stacy Sullivan, Interland has been very successful at teaching employees about ethics and other key topics related to the company’s code of conduct. She notes that because the game is fun and engaging, people are more likely to remember what they learn from it than if they were simply reading through a policy document or attending a lecture.

Case Study 2: Uber

Uber has faced numerous scandals over the years related to ethical lapses by both drivers and executives at the company. In response, Uber developed a comprehensive training program called “Driving Change” that covers various aspects related to the company’s code of conduct, including diversity and inclusion, safety, and customer service.

The program is delivered through a combination of online modules and in-person workshops. The online modules cover topics such as anti-discrimination laws, sexual harassment prevention, and data privacy. The in-person workshops focus on role-playing scenarios to help employees understand how to handle difficult situations that may arise while working for Uber.


According to Uber’s Chief Diversity Officer Bo Young Lee, the Driving Change program has been successful at improving employee behavior related to ethics and other areas covered by the training. She notes that since the program was launched in 2017, there has been a significant decrease in incidents related to discrimination and harassment among drivers.

Case Study 3: Starbucks

Starbucks is known for its commitment to social responsibility, which includes ensuring that all employees understand and follow the company’s code of conduct. To achieve this goal, Starbucks developed a comprehensive training program called “Upstander Training” that focuses on preventing bias-related incidents in stores.

The training covers various topics related to unconscious bias, including race, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, ability status/mental health conditions/physical disabilities/chronic illnesses/ageism/microaggressions/harassment. It also provides strategies for addressing instances of bias or discrimination when they occur.


According to Starbucks’ Executive Vice President Rossann Williams , Upstander Training has been very effective at reducing incident rates across stores where it was implemented . He noted that after implementing this training , there were fewer instances involving derogatory language used against customers from marginalized groups .


Code of Conduct Training Programs are critical components of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives . These programs play an essential role not only in promoting ethical behavior among employees but also ensuring compliance with legal requirements . Organizations can use innovative approaches such as gamification (like Google) or tailor-made solutions specifically designed for their unique organizational needs (like Uber and Starbucks) to make the training more engaging , impactful , and relevant for their employees. It is also essential to regularly assess the effectiveness of these programs in reducing unethical behavior, bias-related incidents, or other breaches of company policy.

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