Implementing a strong third-party ethics and compliance program with a 24/7/365 anonymous live answer hotline is one of the best tools an organization can utilize to stop unethical behaviour in its tracks.
Ernst & Young’s Global Fraud Study finds that there remain obstacles in using internal reporting channels. One obvious deterrent is the fear for personal safety.
Other respondents to the E&Y study highlighted their loyalty to their company as a main reason for not coming forward to report fraud, abuse, or other instances of questionable behaviour.
Management and boards need to recognize how misplaced loyalty plays a role in helping employees hide unethical behaviour and prevents them from coming forward to report concerns.
When an organization has upper management’s complete support of a whistleblower system that encourages employees to come forward and anonymously report instances of wrongdoing, it won’t have too much of a hard time keeping employees motivated and productive.
There is a risk in maintaining a culture of silence:
An anonymous hotline where employees can come forward to report any wrongdoing can give an organization early disclosure on issues and concerns that can be investigated and remedied before the media gets wind of it, thereby protecting the organization’s reputation.
If employees know that there’s a place where they are encouraged to report any perceived wrongdoing without fear of retaliation, it can boost employee morale. And if those employees know that any perceived wrongdoing, whether proven or unproven, will be investigated, this proves the organization’s commitment to an open culture. Boosted employee morale equals happier and harder working employees.
External vs. Internal
Employees might be less likely to use an internally created whistleblower hotline because they are unsure if it’s safe, and they fear retaliation. A hotline provided by an external provider offers a completely neutral atmosphere for reporting incidents. It’s safe, unbiased, and provides complete reporting for analysis.
Externally provided whistleblower programs cost much less that one created in-house. An internally created system requires constant training, maintenance, fixing and editing, costing the organization time and money and taking those in charge of it away from other tasks. A third-party provider does all the hard work, has sourced the telephony, and can take the heavy lifting away from the company, thereby decreasing cost, maintenance, and time.