Is your organisation one of the many thousands of companies faced with implementing a whistleblowing system over the next few years? If so, WhistleB’s new whistleblowing handbook may be just what you need. The ABC guide for establishing a whistleblowing solution that increases customer and employee satisfaction has been written to help companies in Europe comply with new whistleblower protection laws, and get the most value out of implementing a whistleblowing system.
In this series of summer blog articles, we will publish excerpts from the whistleblowing handbook, which covers data security, resources, how to get the cases in, legal aspects, culture and more. So sit back and enjoy the first in the series: WhistleB’s Top Three of Everything – our top tips for implementing an effective whistleblowing system built on trust.
1. Get business-critical cases by promoting and providing easily accessible reporting channels that your employees trust
Communicate the purpose of the whistleblowing solution. Communication must be continuous to drive engagement and help individuals dare to blow the whistle. It involves communicating your organisation’s core values and philosophy on how to do business, according to your code of conduct.
Firstly, set the right tone at the top to create trust. Secondly, a person most likely blows the whistle only once in their lifetime making this a very stressful situation for the whistleblower. De-dramatize the process of whistleblowing in your communication and keep the reporting process simple. Remember that security matters – communicate your security solutions to build trust.
Reduce the fear of retaliation. Anonymous whistleblower reporting is what it takes if you want to receive business-critical information. Implementing truly anonymous channels increases the likelihood of your getting reports on serious misconduct and hence having the chance to minimise damage and risks. People need to trust that they will be protected against retaliation.
Make it easy to report. Remove any thresholds, such as when, where or from which device a whistleblower can send a report. Allow them to report in any language. And do not make the process difficult with complex questionnaires. The whistleblower communication channel should be as easy to use as possible.
2. Maintain trust by providing a system with high data security and by engaging a professional team to manage reports with integrity
Assign a professional team to receive reports. Your team should be made up of professionals; individuals with great integrity, trust, and the skills to manage very sensitive cases. As a rule of thumb, keep the team tight but include different competences – the range of roles strengthens the integrity of the team.
Reply to every report. Treat all cases with the utmost of confidentiality to safeguard the identities of both the whistleblower and the person accused. When responding, do so rapidly and respectfully. Response is a critical part of building trust in the whistleblowing case management process. However, be very careful and restrictive with the information you provide – especially to an anonymous whistleblower.
Ensure a trustworthy and secure processes. Security matters. You have a responsibility to protect an anonymous whistleblower as well as the sensitive data received and investigated.
Firstly, make sure your solution has the highest data security and is constantly monitored. Secondly, your processes should comply with national data protection laws and whistleblowing regulations, this includes secure logs of the activities performed by case managers and managing the investigation securely to protect individuals involved. Thirdly, when a case is closed, direct and indirect data should be permanently removed for any organisations controlling data within EU.
3. Communicate your commitment and analyse your results
Communicate your commitment to doing the right thing to your customers. Everything you do should contribute to your customers’ level of satisfaction or to attracting new customers. Once you have the whistleblowing solution in place let your customers know. Your customers are in the same position as you – they need to ensure their value chain works in a sustainable manner.
Communicate your commitment to a safe and sustainable workplace to attract the best talent. Engaged and responsible employees are your best assets for maintaining high customer satisfaction and sustainable profits. These persons will bring the best to your business – with or without mechanisms such as codes of conduct. Attract them to your company! The younger generation is more likely to select an employer with solid governance, ethical values and established codes of conduct.
Analyse the results and ensure continuous monitoring by the board. Your whistleblowing system can support you in gaining business-critical information about your organisation. Make sure the board has full access to the system, reports received, how cases are managed and aggregated statistics. In addition to alerts on serious incidents that you need to manage immediately, your whistleblowing system provides an efficient health-check.
Gunilla Hadders, co-author and Senior Advisor at WhistleB, Whistleblowing Centre
+46 70 214 88 73, firstname.lastname@example.org