Whistleblower protection is essential for safeguarding the public interest and for fostering a culture of integrity and accountability within organisations.
While many businesses are becoming more proactive in developing policies that clearly define how they will protect whistleblowers, there are still many businesses who appear to have their eyes firmly closed when it comes to promoting a culture where employees feel comfortable to speak up.
Clearly defined whistleblowing policies provide multiple benefits to organisations, from an ethical perspective, and also save organisations time and money spent on unnecessary legal disputes.
To deliver an effective whistleblowing solution for your employees, consideration should be given to how the arrangement fits with your business. Here are our top 5 recommendations you should consider for implementing an effective whistleblowing solution for your workforce:
1. Provide a variety of reporting channels
Whistleblowing reporting channels which are limited in scope may prevent staff from raising concerns in the workplace. Providing employees with a variety of reporting methods, including Internal and external reporting channels, will increase accessibility and provide assurances that your organisation is treating concerns seriously.
One of the main reasons why staff fail to speak up is the perceived consequences of doing so. It is vital that staff are fully aware that they can raise concerns in a safe, supportive environment and in the knowledge that their confidentiality will, wherever possible, be protected. A fully independent and external whistleblowing provider will serve this purpose.
3. Responsiveness needs to be well organised and adequately resourced.
Simply encouraging employees to speak up, without implementing a robust response system, will have negative consequences, both for employees and for the organisation. Getting the response right is the first and most effective step towards encouraging employees to speak up.
4. A platform to manage concerns and strengthen risk management.
Many companies have offices in multiple locations both locally and globally. As a result, staff who are entrusted to manage concerns are often situated in different locations. Best practice should involve systematically collecting the data across the whole organisation and securing the data on one platform. A corporate platform will ensure full visibility and control of your staffs concerns from their inception through to resolution. It will also enhance risk management and allow your business to understand the effectiveness of the whistleblowing policy that you have in place.
Training is fundamental to ensuring positive use of the reporting channels available to your employees. If staff are to feel confident in raising concerns in the workplace, they need to know what it means to blow the whistle, what type of concerns that should be reported and reassurance that they will be protected for making a genuine disclosure.
Ineffective whistleblowing arrangements deny organisations an opportunity to address the wrongdoing that whistleblowers perceive, ultimately resulting in loss of both time and money along with unnecessary legal disputes. In contrast, businesses who take these steps to encourage employees to voice their concerns are taken action to prevent unethical behaviour which mitigates against the harmful financial and reputational effects of wrongdoing against their businesses.
SeeHearSpeakUp delivers whistleblowing solutions to companies globally. For more information, contact the team on +44 (0) 1224 625111.