You may not realise it, but whistleblowing can have a hugely positive effect on your business, as well as your employees, your customers, and other stakeholders. In fact, it's such a powerful tool that it really could save your business, providing the right procedures are in place and everyone knows their roles.
Here's everything you need to know about using the whistleblowing process for the good of your business.
What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is the name given to the action of employees reporting wrongdoing within the company. Also known in some areas as 'disclosure in the public interest', there is traditionally two key forms of whistleblowing, external and internal.
when employees make their complaints and raise awareness of issues to a third party, usually a specialist body outside of the organisation with a form of jurisdiction over the industry.
concerns are raised to the company's management team or whistleblowing department in order to enact an investigation and resolution.
There is a third way to facilitate whistleblowing however, and that's with a whistleblowing hotline from Safecall. We implement a hotline that allows staff to speak to one of our investigators (each of who has decades worth of experience) and start a thorough and impartial investigation, the results of which will be fed back to management.
What are the most common whistleblowing complaints?
Whistleblowers can bring attention to a huge range of misdeeds. Sometimes these actions stem from negligence, other times they are well intentioned but morally wrong, and in some cases they are simply malicious.
Some of the most commonly raised issues are:
- Discrimination/bullying behaviour
- Abusive and inappropriate language/behaviour
- Actions that pose a risk to health and safety
- Damage or potential risk to the environment
- Invoice tampering
- Misuse of property
- Breaches of confidentiality
- Covering up any of the above
Regardless of the motivation, each of the above acts (and more) should be proactively routed out to ensure the continued health of any organisation. That's where a strong system of support to promote whistleblowing is invaluable.
What are the benefits of whistleblowing?
It's uncomfortable for anyone business owner to contemplate such extreme malpractice taking place in their organisation, but if you have a solid whistleblowing process in place, then decisive action can be taken to resolve the issue and learn from it more quickly.
There are also less immediate, but equally important, benefits to having a healthy regard for the whistleblowing process within your business. For example a company that encourages whistleblowers to step forward is one that has placed its trust in its employees. It follows then, that employees making these disclosures are invested in the company and its activities enough to care when they see wrongdoing take place. Such buy-in and loyalty to a business, its values, and its stakeholders should never be underestimated.
Having a whistleblowing hotline of the type that Safecall can provide shows that your company is serious about promoting a culture that is not only open and transparent, but supportive of those who act within its best interests.
How to implement a whistleblowing process that works
One of the key areas to consider when establishing a whistleblowing process is education. There are still outdated misconceptions around how whistleblowers should be treat and the benefits of being open, and educating staff at all levels can dispel these falsehoods. Equally important is reinforcing the benefits and correct procedures to take when a concern is raised; such as providing anonymity and keeping detailed records of the action taken.
As well as providing a whistleblowing hotline staffed by highly-experienced investigators, Safecall also provides training for staff and management alike. Available as E-learning packages or classroom-based sessions, our training focuses on both the need for a robust procedure to deal with concerns when they are raised and how the practicalities of creating such an infrastructure.
Originally published 6 May, 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.