Many companies set up a hotline to comply with a regulatory body or to check off a box on their due diligence list of governance to-do’s. While a hotline is an important tool in your overall governance and compliance planning, you need to make sure you are choosing the right solution for your organization.
Choosing the biggest and best! The provider that serves Coca-Cola or Disney, is not necessarily the best provider for you. Do your diligence and ensure you are going to get the right level of service and attention for your investment in the hotline and reporting system. It is key to have an Account Manager that can help you create the right kinds of support – through a communications plan, marketing support materials and training. An off-the-shelf solution designed for the mass market may not be your best option.
Don’t choose the cheapest solution or worse, use an internal system without proper support protocols in place. Ensure that your provider offers a 24/7/365 hotline so no matter when your employee calls, someone is there to take it. There are many providers who answer the phone from 9am to 5pm, but since most calls received by ethics hotlines are outside normal business hours, you are short-changing employees on the level of access and transparency they would expect with this type of service. If you are using an internal system, you need to address the 24/7 aspect of the service. It is integral to the success and support of a hotline. You also want to ensure you have a proper case management system along with the hotline so you can identify trends, create an audit trail and have access to a comprehensive reporting system to assess your success.
Implement the system without proper support or promotion. If you do not promote the whistleblower system, no one will use it. You need to support the system—and idea—on multiple levels: through the employee handbook and Code of Conduct; through lunch and learns and town hall meetings; with collateral materials such as posters and wallet cards; and through training both online and in person. The single most important aspect of implementing a hotline (besides being 24/7/365) is ensuring your staff knows about it and feels comfortable using it.
Mistakes are one thing, but solutions are another. Luckily, we can help you learn how to avoid one and embrace the other. Download our free eBook, 6 Simple Steps to Implementing an Ehtics Reporting Hotline.