Our most recent survey, in partnership with HR Magazine, was conducted to discover how HR professionals view whistleblowing within their organisations.
We have collated some highlights and stand-out insights from the results.
Investigations must be handled properly
There is a stark gap between the number of respondents who believe that training is absolutely necessary for those responsible for workplace investigations (94%) and the number of respondents who could confidently say their investigators had received formal training (49%).
If organisations are aware of the importance of having workplace wrongdoing investigated by trained personnel, then why are so many operating in a manner that does not reflect this? Ensuring investigators have the appropriate training and experience is crucial to safeguarding your employees and protecting your reputation.
This can be remedied either by offering investigations training to the relevant employees within your organisation or by outsourcing your investigations to dedicated, impartial and experienced workplace investigators. Only 25% of respondents currently use external investigators for more serious issues – this means 75% are operating with the risk of an investigation being managed without expertise or true impartiality. Delegating complex and serious investigations to dedicated investigators is the best way to protect your employees and your business.
True choice of reporting avenues needed
Over 25% of respondents’ organisations do not offer a telephone hotline to their employees to report wrongdoing. This lack of hotline provision hinders employee accessibility to make a report. Many organisations will have people within their employee base or wider supply chain who may struggle with literacy. For these individuals, their only way of contacting their organisation may be by telephone.
Furthermore, you are 50% more likely to get a report of bullying, harassment, victimisation or racism via a hotline call than via other disclosure avenues. By failing to provide a hotline, you may be losing out on valuable reports that allow you a full picture of your organisation’s cultural health.
Almost 60% of respondents said their organisation does not offer a web reporting mechanism. This lack of access to an anonymous web portal may also result in reports not being made. Over half of Safecall’s reports come through our web portal – a method which can be used entirely anonymously. Providing employees with an online reporting option is a crucial step towards offering true channel choice when making a report.
Almost 18% of respondents said their organisation does not offer any whistleblowing training to their employees. A further 31% said they do not offer training beyond induction. There are various regulatory bodies and legislative acts that require employees to be aware of their organisation’s whistleblowing policy. Ensuring your employees are aware of the processes available to them to report suspected wrongdoing is a vital step towards fostering a culture of accountability, transparency and regulatory compliance.
42% of respondents believe their employees are not actively encouraged to speak up about wrongdoing. Promoting your service and offering regular whistleblowing training raising awareness of your processes and the protections offered to whistleblowers, is an effective means of mitigating this.
89% of respondents have a whistleblowing policy in place.
However, only 58% believe their leadership team always act on whistleblowing reports to make positive change.
And less than 20% believe all employees feel confident reporting concerns of wrongdoing.
These figures demonstrate the breakdown in confidence and trust that results from a perceived lack of commitment to a culture of accountability and transparency.
The 11% of organisations that do not have any form of whistleblowing policy in place have fallen at the first hurdle in the pursuit of establishing trust amongst their employees. If you do not communicate your dedication to recognising and combatting wrongdoing in written policy, then individuals will not feel comfortable taking the leap to make a disclosure.
Moreover, even if a policy is in place, if it is perceived that concerns are not being acted upon effectively, this will discourage reports being made. This could result in cultural or professional issues continuing uncontested, putting your organisation at risk of reputational damage.