World Whistleblowers Day Reflections 2022

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World Whistleblowers Day, on the 23rd June 2022, is an opportunity to celebrate those individuals who have bravely spoken up about a wide variety of workplace issues, and also those organisations that have embraced and promoted the concept of whistleblowing and speaking out… in essence, providing the channels for these important voices to be heard.

The benefits of whistleblowing to wider society and the public interest of these whistleblowers being heard are obvious but it can sometimes be forgotten how much courage it can take for individuals to come forward and be speak up.

Existing whistleblowing legislation and the recent European Whistleblowing Directive provide a legislative driver to enable whistleblowing channels but there are, just as importantly, many other positive outcomes from implementing an open, transparent, anonymous and effective management system for reporting concerns.

The world has changed.

Employees, investors and other stakeholders increasingly want to see that businesses are demonstrably managed in an ethical and sustainable way and one of the ways to do this is to give staff a voice that can be heard.

Not only does this voice need to be heard, but the owner of the voice needs to know that having spoken up there are investigation systems and processes in place to handle their concerns appropriately and to shield them from fear of retribution.

This fear of retribution is a regularly aired concern for whistleblowers reporting via Safecall.

Real or perceived this perception can only be overcome by operating a robust whistleblowing policy that not only embraces the concept of protection but also champions those who use it.

A more open, transparent and effective whistleblowing policy will not only satisfy your investors but will make your workplaces safer, more welcoming and attractive to both current and future employees reducing staff turnover and minimising associated recruitment costs.

In effect, what I am really saying is that having a whistleblowing policy is sometimes legally required, but is also ethically sound and good for business.

There are numerous examples of how whistleblowers have changed the world for good, but I also see daily examples of the negative consequences of not having a robust whistleblowing process in the news.

You would be amazed how many times I think ‘I’ll bet that company wish they had heard about that issue at an early stage when they could have done something about it!‘

So, on World Whistleblowers Day this year, spare a thought for your employees.

If you already have a whistleblowing reporting hotline in place, then fantastic… you are leading the way in ethical reporting of wrongdoing and also helping to futureproof your business reputation against any scandal.

If you haven’t any reporting system in place, then give your staff the opportunity to let you know what is happening in your organisation and celebrate them when they do so.

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