Hemtex is the Nordic’s leading retail chain for home textiles and home furnishings with over 130 stores and a turnover of over EUR 100 million. Implementing a whistleblower function in such a large organisation is no easy task. Maria Bjerner, HR Manager, led the work internally and together with Visslan, they got the function in place in no time and well in advance of the Swedish legal requirement for companies with over 250 employees on 17th of July.
Why is corporate culture important to you and how do you work with it?
"Hemtex is the people", says Maria. "Culture permeates leadership and employees and affects commitment, well-being and loyalty. Our culture is based on strong values, which help us make the right choices every day. How we are towards customers, colleagues and towards ourselves.”
She emphasises the importance of a democratic workplace where one's voice is heard without risking negative treatment or reprisals. Openness, transparency and equal opportunity to express oneself are of the utmost importance.
What problems did you face and how did Visslan help to solve them?
"In connection with the Whistleblower Act coming into force, we searched for a digital solution to handle whistleblowing in accordance with the law's requirements", says Maria. In addition, she mentions that the process needed to be simple, the tool easely accessible and that the whistleblower's safety and anonymity could be guaranteed at the same time. "Having one's case assessed in an objective way was also an important part", she continues.
Another important aspect for Hemtex was the possibility of getting an external legal review of all incoming cases and that the whistleblower always feels that their cases are objectively assessed by an external party. Therefore, Hemtex chose to take help of Visslan's external reception function for whistleblower cases and specifically the partner Unsquare Law, which handles the whistleblower function for several of Visslan's customers.
"We finally decided to choose Visslan as we thought it was a simple and good solution that at the same time felt safe for the user", says Maria.
How was the process of implementing and launching Visslan?
According to Maria, the implementation process was simple and she felt that they received good support all the way, both personally from Visslan and from the support material provided. "We received good support material in the form of policies etc that was easy to adjust based on our own business, which made it all easier", she says.
In addition, the communication with Visslan worked very well. "Communication with Visslan worked great and we felt that they were always quick to respond and focused on solving our challenge in the best way."
Do you have any tips for companies that are just starting to implement their whistleblowing solution?
Maria answers briefly: "I would recommend Visslan".
Read more about Hemtex on www.hemtex.se.