One of the most valuable whistleblowing benefits is that it enables organisations to access hard-to-reach information that can help leaders to minimise a wide range of risks. In many cases, whistleblowing also has a preventive impact; the mere presence of a well-communicated whistleblowing system will make potential wrong-doers think twice.
Staying silent is costly – allow anonymous reporting
However, to gain greater whistleblowing benefits organisations need to implement a secure whistleblowing system that allows for anonymous reporting and dialogue. Anonymity is essential as potential whistleblowers may be afraid of retaliation, and consequently choose to stay silent about any unethical behaviour they suspect. An anonymous reporting channel gives people more confidence to speak up thereby increasing the chances of leaders receiving critical reports and thus realising the kinds of whistleblowing benefits described below.
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Common whistleblowing benefits
Discover misconduct and act against it sooner
Whistleblowing is unique in that it gives everybody in the organisation the opportunity to report a concern if they see something they suspect is against the organisation’s ethical principles.
Take care of things internally
Stronger whistleblower protection laws all over the world, such as in the EU and Australia, mean that if you do not listen to and act upon whistleblowing tips internally, people may decide to report externally, for example to the media, and are legally protected if they do so.
Reduce losses when misconduct occurs
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, whistleblowing benefits organisations through significant loss savings. The ACFE’s Report to the Nations showed that organisations that did not have a whistleblowing system in place suffered losses that were twice the size compared to those who did have a whistleblowing system.
Build trust in your brand
In our most recent customer study on organisational whistleblowing, 50% of the participants responded that building trust was the main benefit of a whistleblowing system. This illustrates that whistleblowing benefits are not limited to identifying and acting on misconduct. Nowadays, an openness to whistleblowing demonstrates a commitment to high ethical standards and builds trust in the company.
Ensure legal compliance
Globally, there is a trend towards stricter anti-corruption and whistleblower protection laws, for example the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive, as well as harsher legal requirements regarding the handling of personal data. The WhistleB whistleblowing system aligns with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the GDPR, the strictest such law in the world, as well as with local legal requirements. Having such a system in place for whistleblowing benefits organisations by reducing compliance risk.
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Why whistleblowing matters – Quotes on organisational whistleblowing
A key tool for the board
“A Whistleblowing function that members of staff can trust is a key sustainability tool for the board. It is important that irregularities… can be reported anonymously, for example through an independent external third party.” Leif Johansson, Chairman of Ericsson and AstraZeneca, former CEO of Volvo and Electrolux. Quote from the handbook “Sustainable Profit” by the founders of WhistleB.
Wrongdoings are less likely to occur
”To stifle whistleblowing is to harm the business. Bad news tends to come out eventually, and looks worse if it appears that bosses tried to suppress it. Apart from which, wrongdoing is less likely to occur in the first place if employees know that their bosses are more inclined to hug a whistleblower than to put him in a headlock.” The Economist
“The most powerful weapon against fraud is not an algorithm or a checklist, but a whistleblower.” The Economist
Most common fraud detection method
”Tips are consistently and by far the most common detection method. Over 40% of all cases were detected by a tip — more than twice the rate of any other detection method. Employees accounted for nearly half of all tips that led to the discovery of fraud.” Association of Certified Fraud Examiners