Three years ago, we started to methodologically survey our customers about their whistleblowing practices. It was the birth of the WhistleB annual customer study on organisational whistleblowing. The results of our 3rd edition of the study have just been released, and the occasion has given us pause for reflection about what is happening in our field of expertise.
So what are we seeing? Well, this has been a year during which whistleblowing has truly been in the spotlight, increasingly receiving positive attention. Whistleblowers have gained wide media interest – some gaining hero-like status. Business leaders’ awareness of the value whistleblowing is growing, both from a business ethics and business profits point of view. And the regulatory landscape is shifting, with more laws to protect whistleblowers being passed or proposed.
We saw that the number of whistleblower reports received by customers has increased significantly this year as well as a dramatic jump in the number of new customers. Why such a groundswell? As we said, there has been an attitude change towards whistleblowing partly through the #MeToo movement and also due to the media’s depiction of whistleblowers as heroes. One impact of this is that employees have likely been strengthened by the de-stigmatisation of being a whistleblower and have become more confident in blowing the whistle.
This in turn motivates organisations to implement professional whistleblowing channels that allow for efficient, secure, compliant and above all, internal reporting of misconduct. There is growing awareness that significant damage may be prevented when a matter can be solved internally before it escalates externally. Organisations understand how whistleblowing can be a proactive part of their business ethics work and open it up to their stakeholders.
In a nutshell… We are in a period of attitude shifts, favourable regulation, digitalisation, greater corporate social responsibility, and a growing awareness that whistleblowing can help reduce financial losses. We believe that the positive attitude towards whistleblowing as a way of fostering transparency is here to stay.
Read the report and tell us what you think. We are interested to hear about your experiences.