How to turn employees into whistleblowers
As the title may suggest, this is actually not meant to sound completely crazy.
In fact the opposite is true.
You want your employees to be whistleblowers.
Yes you do, trust us!
Because they're the people who see things happen!
Or know about something that could happen.
You're not doing your due diligence on hiring honest and hard working employees, only to have them turn a blind eye to questionable practices happening behind your back.
You expect your honest to goodness, hard working employees to speak up about unethical activities.
After all, you don't work hard everyday for nothing!
Neither are your hard working employees giving it their all for the company to land in legal troubles and put their jobs on the line.
You expect to see employees taking initiative and being accountable.
Okay, so how the heck do you make whistleblowers out of employees?
Well first you've got to make them see whistleblowing isn't a bad thing.
This starts with tone and messaging right from the top that includes very serious 'no retaliation' assurances.
That's right. Employees need to hear it in very clear and meaningful terms - see something, say something!
If they cringe at the very word whistleblowing, then call it speaking up about what could harm the company. And how not speaking up could really harm the company.
Tell them they can be completely anonymous when they speak up via the anonymous reporting hotline.
The point is, employees need to be clear that speaking up about wrongdoing is part of the company culture, fully endorsed by management.
You've hired professional people to work in, and represent, your company. Your professional people need to do the right thing and challenge any behaviour that they perceive as falling short of the company code of ethics.
Whistleblowing is an early warning system for misconduct, wrongdoing or dangerous behaviours.
This early warning system is documented in the ACFEs 2018 Report to the Nations. Globally, whistleblower tips account for 40% of reported misconduct.
Legislation forces many companies to put whistlebower programs into place. But how a company uses the program determines whether it will be successful or not.
The next piece of advice that will help make your employees into whistleblowers is to investigate all complaints to determine whether they warrant further investigation or not.
Nothing says we're not really serious about employees speaking up than completely ignoring those employees who do, and doing nothing about their concerns.
Guard against retaliation and ensure employees feel confident that they will be supported for raising concerns about workplace misconduct and not end up in trouble for doing the right thing.
Promote your whistleblower program by training employees regularly about the very fact that it's there, and how to use it.
Contact us to learn more about how encouraging employees to speak up helps build an ethical culture, and confident whistleblowers!