At WhistleB, we applaud a more positive view of the value of whistleblower tips. The UK-based Financial Times and Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter have published pieces in the last month related to high-profile whistleblowing matters and their articles highlight that whistleblowers need the strictest protection. We could not agree more. Organisations should offer a safe environment for reporting misconduct and protecting the anonymity of people who dare to report.
Several the trends that we find interesting are:
1) Phone reporting is yesterday. Many companies are now skipping this way to report concerns as it is less secure (the information cannot be encrypted all the way from the whistleblower to the receiver of the message), it is less cost-efficient, and less user-friendly. Today, in the world of smart phones, whistleblowers are more likely to attach pictures and text files as evidential material, which is valuable for the investigations. Our recommendation is to have voice phone reporting as an option only in countries where internet access is not widespread, or for employee groups that might hesitate to report in writing.
2) Anonymous reporting is important. In EU countries anonymous reporting is permitted, but seen as a “last resort”, and is positioned as a complementary channel to report concerns about severe matters of misconduct. However, our customers witness that those alerts that are important for them to receive are usually submitted anonymously. Our recommendation is to inform potential users about the European rules for anonymous reporting without jeopardizing the option to report anonymously. In many cases a whistleblower that has reached out anonymously is willing to reveal their name in a follow-up dialogue.
3) Open up whistleblowing to external groups. Many of our customers open up their whistleblowing channels to external groups, such as suppliers and customers. This is part of their business ethics work, in which they take responsibility for a broader group than just their own employees. Our recommendation is to make sure that you ask the right questions to the different target groups, while keeping reporting simple and easy – a serious whistleblower sounds the alarm probably only once in their lifetime. You can also consider including the possibility for people to ask questions on ethical dilemmas before deciding whether to submit an alert.
Sometimes things don’t always go as they should in a workplace. Consequently, discrimination, harassment or some kind of corruption can arise. This is why the organisation’s employees must have tools they can use to report concerns – quickly, simply and anonymously. And the organisation’s board and shareholders also need tools to be able to respond rapidly.
WhistleB provides a digital whistleblowing service, complete with market-leading security. We are a customer-focused fast-growing company. WhistleB’s whistleblower service is used today in more than 100 countries. Our customers come from many different sectors, including banking and finance, trade, manufacturing, services, infrastructure, media, public authorities and NGOs.