May 19, 2022
Employees play a key role in an organization's well-being. After all, it is they who make the organization go around. If the employees in an organization are dissatisfied or experience injustices in the workplace, it can have major negative effects.
Everything from lack of motivation and lack of results, to huge negative media attention or lost partners. A critical component in the well-being of employees is the possibility of whistling. Historically, there have often been situations where people are afraid of being singled out as whistleblowers, either for fear of retaliation, special treatment or getting rid of their jobs.
This is one of the many reasons why the EU has chosen to implement the new Whistleblower Directive. We will go through a few helpful tips on how you can ensure that your organization's whistleblower solution is actually a good one.
How to make sure your whistleblower solution is good and gets used
Meeting the minimum legal requirements is of course positive, but even better is to be just, even better: to go from simply having a sufficient whistleblower solution to having a good one. Let's take a closer look at what you can do as an organization to improve your existing whistleblower solution or to create a really good one.
Make sure that staff in leading roles are on board
Make sure your CEO and management team really understand and accept the concept. The management team must not only implement the system, but embrace it completely.
An introductory letter from the CEO describing the expectations of behavior and the responsibility shared by all employees to ensure that the organization and its integrity are protected from all types of errors could have been a good idea. By ensuring that even people in managerial capacity and in higher roles embrace the concept, it has a positive impact on the rest of the organization.
Introduce the whistleblower system and explain examples of ethical dilemmas. Try role-playing between teams to distinguish which behaviors qualify as an ethical offense. Use videos, team challenges and sanitized actual cases to reinforce what the company considers unethical.
Educate your employees about the red flags that can help detect scams. Lifestyle changes, hints of abuse, gifts from suppliers or failure to take vacations are all subtle clues that there may be something else wrong.
Employees need to be educated about the events that can indicate disasters and the earlier a fraud is detected, the less damage to the organization - both from a financial perspective and in terms of your reputation.
Use a good whistleblower policy
While the importance of whistleblowing is obvious, adopting a whistleblower policy is not something an organization should rush into ruthlessly. A bad policy can cause as much headache for an organization as no policy at all. Also read how to make your whistleblower policy easy to understand.
For example, your policy should highlight:
- What types of problems should be reported. Give examples, such as accounting fraud, contract fixes, corrupt payments, theft of company data and racial discrimination. If you want to go beyond the whistleblower law also for example sexual harassment, office bullying and so on - and maybe even a disclaimer on "and everything else that you consider to be misconduct".
- Employees' obligation to report irregularities. In most cases, you want to specify that employees must report disturbing misconduct they see, even if they are not direct victims of the behavior in question.
- Opportunity to report anonymously. By providing an anonymous reporting channel, you provide employees who are in some way involved in misconduct but who want to come clean way to do so.
- Protection against retaliation. Either as part of your general whistleblower policy, or as a company policy for courtesy in the workplace, emphasize that it is strictly forbidden to take revenge on employees for submitting a whistleblower report and may result in disciplinary action including dismissal.
With Visslan's whistleblowing policy, you get a standardized whistleblower policy that can be easily adapted when needed. It can help you save time, headaches and legal fees. Contact us for more information..
Checklist for a good whistleblower solution
Use the points below in different categories to check off and see if you meet the recommendations for a good whistleblower solution.
- Does your whistleblower system allow a whistleblower's identity to remain strictly confidential?
- If necessary, can the system be opened up to external parties without revealing the whistleblower's identity?
- Are identities protected all the way from reporting to filing cases?
- Is access to case management systems secure enough? For example with two-factor authentication?
- Do you have a system, competence and routines for handling investigations?
- Does your whistleblower channel allow you to securely add external experts to the case management process?
- Do you have competent resources in place to follow up reports in an appropriate manner?
Archiving & storage
- Does your system keep a user and case log of each case?
- Does your system allow the deletion of personal data in accordance with the GDPR?
- Does your system delete all personal data when the case is deleted?
- Is your whistleblower system fully compliant with the GDPR in all EU countries where you operate?
If you think it seems complicated, Visslan's services are here for you to take part in. We can help you regardless of the size of the organization. We offer comprehensive whistleblower solutions and components, including the option of external case management or a standardized whistleblower policy.