5 things whistleblowers wish were taken more seriously

5 things whistleblowers wish were taken more seriously

June 10, 2022

Finding the courage to blow the whistle can be one of the most difficult things a person may need to do, especially if they are afraid for their own safety, losing their jobs or experiencing revenge actions from managers within the organization.

There are a couple of things that whistleblowers wish were taken more seriously. We will look at these below and go through why these particular points should be taken more seriously.

1. Well-functioning whistleblower system

This is something that is a bit of an obvious point, but as many previous whistleblowers have told us about, namely that all organizations should use a well-functioning whistleblower system. This means that the entire whistleblower system, from reporting, through investigation and to the end result should be well-functioning.

Historically, many organizations have had shortcomings in any or all of these procedures. However, this is something that is decreasing more and more as new laws and regulations are put into operation that standardize whistleblowing. Visslan’s whistleblower system provides everything you need in whistleblowing for your organization. For example, you receive email notifications with updates on cases and do not have to worry about security deficiencies or cumbersome administrative work.

Whistleblowers have testified that email functions, anonymous mailboxes or phone numbers often work poorly for several different reasons. We seem to see an increased awareness of these and are therefore pleased that more and more organizations are choosing to offer their employees a web-based whistleblower system.

2. Follow-up on their whistleblower report

Many whistleblowers want follow-up to be taken more seriously. Too many times, people have reported malpractice in the workplace, without having heard back about the case again. This can be incredibly frustrating as the whistleblower may not even be sure the report reached a recipient or taken seriously.

It is therefore a good idea to offer regular follow-up on all whistleblowing reports that come in. For example, it is standard to confirm receipt of the report, and then to provide regular status updates for as long as relevant. This is so that the whistleblower will feel that you as an organization take their report seriously. Follow-up is thankfully also part of the new whistleblower law within the EU.

Also read: How to investigate whistleblower reports in the best way

3. Protection against retaliation

Revenge actions are unfortunately a reality that has affected many whistleblowers over the years. Although it is not always a matter of direct revenge actions, such as the whistleblower being fired, for example, revenge actions can be shown by the whistleblower being given an objectively worse role within the company, or that their contract is not renewed when it expires.

Nowadays, there are many laws that protect whistleblowers from retaliation. However, it is still not uncommon for whistleblowers to experience special treatment because they chose to blow the whistle. This is therefore something that most organizations can improve and think about further, but also something legislators should take into account.

4. Transparency around whistleblowing

Many organizations are content to implement whistleblower systems and then do nothing more. Although this meets the minimum requirements (as long as no case actually comes in), it is easy to do more than that. Creating an open attitude around whistleblowing where you highlight the benefits of whistleblowing can go a long way.

When the employees feel that they are doing the right thing by blowing the whistle, instead of feeling like a gossip, the chance also increases that they will dare to blow the whistle.

Also read: Positive work culture

5. Anonymity

The opportunity to remain anonymous is something that most people wish would be taken more seriously. The fact that you have to reveal your identity in connection with blowing the whistle is something that keeps many people from reporting malpractices and inaccuracies. Read more about what affects whistleblowers in the study The psychology of whistleblowing by James Dungan, Adam Waytz and Liane Young.

By offering the possibility of anonymity, this concern disappears. Those who prefer to be public or be open with their identity can choose to be so, while those who wish to remain anonymous have the opportunity to be so. It is therefore recommended to offer the possibility of anonymity at all stages of the whistleblowing process.

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