Tuesday, 02 June 2020 17:19

Whistleblowing - Let's get the communication right!

Employers are beginning to understand the many benefits that come with implementing a whistle-blower hotline. If used properly it reduces risk, improves health and safety in the workplace and saves money. However, what good is a whistle-blower hotline if no one knows about it?

One of the most common questions asked by businesses when discussing whistleblowing solutions is the number of whistleblowing concerns they are likely to receive should their business implement a whistleblowing helpline. The question is often driven by the consequences of receiving whistleblowing concerns to investigate and the resources that might be required to deal with concerns raised in their workplace.

The number of whistleblowing concerns that will be potentially raised is not always easy to predict. This is because there are a wide range of factors that impact how effective take-up of a whistleblowing service is within the workplace.

Every business is different, whether it be the size of the business, the number of employees, or the type of industry which they serve. Every business has its own unique culture, corporate governance and type of leadership. However, regardless of any of these factors, without effective communication, take-up of a whistleblowing service is likely to be limited and exposes businesses to higher levels of risk and vulnerability.

Here are some simple tips to enhance communication of your whistleblowing helpline to encourage whistle-blowers to come forward and help you protect your business:

Confidentiality

One of the main reasons why staff fail to speak up is the perceived consequences of doing so. It is vital that staff are aware that they can raise concerns in a safe, supportive environment and in the knowledge that their confidentiality will, wherever possible, be protected.

Provide Training

Facilitate online whistleblowing training with functionality to indicate that employees have fully understood the process. Training is fundamental to ensuring that staff know what it means to blow the whistle, what type of concerns that should be reported and provide reassurance that they will be fully protected for making a genuine disclosure.

Promoting the Service

Information regarding how to report concerns should be easily accessible. Businesses should ensure that their whistleblowing helpline is well publicised across their entire business. For example, posters and literature should be displayed in communal areas and on notice boards across the organisation. How to report whistleblowing concerns should also be prominent on a business’ intranet.

Setting the Tone

Another crucial factor in take-up of a whistleblowing service across businesses is the tone set by leadership within the business. This is widely known as ‘Tone at the top’. Tone at the top refers to the ethical environment that is created in the workplace by the organisation's leadership. Senior Management should always take the lead in communicating the message to staff, reflecting that employees are encouraged to speak up and that their concerns will be taken seriously. Whatever tone management sets will have a trickle-down effect to employees of the company. If the tone set by managers reflects strong ethical standards, employees will be more inclined to uphold those same values.

SeeHearSpeakUp delivers whistleblowing solutions to companies globally. For more information, contact the team on +44 (0) 1224 625111 or shsusales@aab.uk.

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