7 Questions Answered About Whistleblower Hotlines
To organizations that want to promote a speak-up culture but don't know how
Most of us agree that implementing a whistleblower hotline is a good thing. You can't argue with facts like putting fraud off to another day only increases its damage.
Or how about those organizations with reporting hotlines, where employees can report on fraud earlier, that suffer way less damage compared with those organizations without reporting hotlines.
Let's put to rest some fears and answer some questions many have about whistleblower hotlines. If you're a business looking to implement a new hotline and reporting program, here are few suggestions.
It has to be secure
An organization that incorporates a whistleblowing service into their operations wouldn't want confidential internal matters to be made public due to improper handling of data. The security of the program chosen is worth the due-diligence. It needs to guarantee the integrity of the reported case and the protection of sensitive data - preventing the possibility of fraudulent additions or omissions of details.
A whistleblower wanting to speak out against unethical behaviour within their organization would be concerned about their anonymity, and the repercussions that they feel may occur if their identity is known. Therefore, a guarantee to keep the whistleblower anonymous would provide benefit to the individual who wishes to file a report confidentially. It would also likely benefit the organization as it is able to take more corrective actions if more reports are filed, making the company more ethical and compliant.
Organizations with a reputation of having poor ethics would likely be willing to improve their perception in the public’s eye. Therefore, reputation-enhancement is another value that is fundamental in ethics reporting programs. A subscribing organization can use the service as a form of promotion, improving their ethical image in the eyes of others, and potentially leading to a brighter future.
Company stakeholders that may have their time eaten up managing an internal whistleblowing program by juggling in-person complaints that compete with their other job duties, will improve the complaint investigation processes, and save time, with a more efficient third-party system. The response time of a powerful web-based portal allows management to come to quick, yet thorough solutions to ethical issues within an organization. A fast response enables an organization to solve problems in a reasonable time frame, making any necessary changes before the reported incident dramatically affects the company.
Ease of use
An easy-to-use whistleblowing program enables a larger number of individuals to voice their concerns when they might not have been able to before. The software used should be intuitive, yet powerful, because the degree of accessibility of the system is believed to increase the willingness of whistleblowers to come forward, allowing an organization to become more ethical.
Large organizations with complex internal structures and needs, would likely not be very interested in hotline services that are rigid in their implementation. A third-party able to tailor-fit a program benefits clients that have varied organizational needs. In order to effectively promote the usability of the service to all of their employees - no matter how different their roles are - the subscribing organization will need the program they use to be tailored to each department’s specific features and needs.
Doesn't everything boil down to price? Many companies keeping close attention to financial spreadsheets would be likely to implement their own whistleblowing program, rather than a third-party service that charges a premium price with hidden fees. But hold on. Not all third-party providers charge an arm and a leg and have fees that suddenly pop up when the client asks for something. Finding a provider that is all-inclusive is a huge bonus. The service and all of its features, such as customizability, software training, and implementation should be all included in an annual subscription price, with no hidden or extra fees for additional services.
If you don’t quite know what type of program you want, you're not alone. The important things is the provider you choose should be able to deliver a simple system that can be customized and scaled to best serve you and your business needs.