June 1, 2022
At this point, we have gone through the differences between internal and external whistleblowing quite a lot. However, it is worth mentioning again how important it is that the internal whistleblowing solution is as good as possible.
After all, it is the internal whistleblower solution that will be used most frequently. This makes it worth paying extra attention to this particular part of organizations' whistleblower function. Here we take a closer look at why internal whistleblowing is superior to external whistleblowing.
Internal whistleblowing vs external whistleblowing
Although we cover the differences more in depth in other posts, for example What is the difference between internal and external whistleblowing? Let’s go over the differences and the different meanings briefly again here.
Internal whistleblowing is when an employee reports errors, corruption or malpractice within the organization, i.e. internally. The employee uses the organization's own whistleblowing solution to highlight the problem.
External whistleblowing is when a person blows the whistle externally instead of internally. This can be, for example, to the media, authorities or in social media. Common reasons why people choose external whistleblowing are because they have little faith in their own organization, or because they have previously tried to blow the whistle internally without seeing any changes.
Also read: The Whistleblower Directive's 6 minimum requirements for employers
Why is internal whistleblowing preferred?
There are many reasons why internal whistleblowing is preferable. Many problems can be solved easily and smoothly internally within the organization without involving external parties. This also means that the public and the media are often completely unaware of the situation, which in most cases is to the advantage of the organization.
Also read: 3 ways to encourage employees to report malpractice
When an employee of an organization chooses to blow the whistle externally, it can have enormous consequences for the organization, such as loss of income, lost investors and a greatly deteriorated public image, or brand negativity. An example of this is the scandal within Volkswagen a few years ago. You can read more about this in the article 14.7 Billion Reasons Why Volkswagen Should Have Welcome Whistleblowers from Forbes.
With the results in hand, it is so very easy to understand why it is worth offering a good internal whistleblowing function that the employees actually want to use and that enables anonymous reporting.
How to make sure your internal whistleblower solution is good
- Be sure to avoid misunderstandings for some blowing
Many people believe that whistleblowing is an action-packed process where the managers within the organization will do their utmost to exact their revenge on the whistleblower. Most of the time, however, the truth does not really look like that.
It is therefore a good idea to train the employees within the organization for how the internal whistleblowing process works. Go through what happens when a report comes in, how feedback takes place and the like.
Also read: How to investigate whistleblower reports in the best way
- Communicate positively to encourage reporting
It is very effective to communicate positively regarding certain security locks within the organization. When employees feel that whistleblowing is taken seriously and that they will not face retaliation, the chances that they dare to report issues in the workplace are much greater.
- Answer frequently asked questions before they are asked
This is part of point 1, but it deserves its own point. It is a good idea to offer answers to common questions before employees within the organization even think about asking them.
Also read: Anonymous reporting in whistleblowing
The most common questions regarding internal whistleblowing are:
- Will my identity be protected?
- Am I protected from retaliation?
- Can I be transferred to another group, department or workplace if I blow the whistle?
- Will I get into trouble for reporting issues?
- Do I get any feedback or update on my whistleblower case?
It is therefore a good idea to try to answer questions. Either through training materials or group exercises, through an FAQ section on the intranet or website or simply answer them directly in your whistleblower policy.
Visslan provides an internal whistleblowing system that can work both with internal reception of cases and externally. In addition, you can have a complete whistleblowing policy developed in collaboration with leading experts in whistleblowing. You are welcome to book a meeting to hear more.