Why whistleblowing in retail is important

Why whistleblowing in retail is important


In the retail business, it is unfortunately common to have problems related to working conditions, theft, and wages. For example, it is not too unusual for employees to work far too long shifts, too many days in a row without enough rest, or to work in substandard conditions.

Of course, this does not mean that these concerns exist in all workplaces, but that unfortunately they often occur around the world within this particular industry and probably eventually affect all workplaces at some point.

What does a good whistleblowing system in retail look like?

A whistleblowing system should have a couple of particularly important aspects. From a psychological perspective, the best way to get people to report wrongdoing or unethical behavior is to ensure that they feel trusted and can remain anonymous.

Also read: Anonymous reporting in whistleblowing

Some companies use an internal system and others use a system operated by an independent third party. Whistleblowers may also choose to go to various government agencies or ultimately the media. This is the worst thing that can happen to the organization because then it no longer has control over what is happening.

Whistleblowers can be sent to the first two channels if they are working properly, and the employees can be sure that they will not be punished for telling the truth. The easiest way to get rid of any doubts is for the organization to provide a safe and reliable way for people to report errors.

In this way, the whistleblower will feel safe and encouraged to report malpractice. That is, if the organization has a way to ensure that an investigation is done quickly and thoroughly while keeping the whistleblower's identity secret.

It is best if internal whistleblowing channels are offered and used, especially in retail, where brand often plays such a big role. If it is discovered that an organization does not offer sufficient rights to its employees, or that they otherwise behave in an unethical way, it can have a large negative impact, which we have seen several times recently. In this way, a system for whistleblowing can also be a kind of insurance to protect the brand.

Common concerns in the retail trade

Irregularities related to employee safety and well-being, as well as theft by employees, are common in retail. In addition to this, there are also problems that occur in all industries, such as bullying and poor working conditions.

Employee theft

Unfortunately, retail is vulnerable to theft because of the way it operates. In fact, employee theft is one of the biggest reasons stores lose money. Globally, the average theft by an employee is worth more than four times the average theft from a store.

Also read: Getting started with implementing a whistleblower solution

While it is impossible to 100% eliminate the risk of retail employee theft, better working conditions, more education about the personal and organizational effects of theft. This, in tandem with a better hiring and onboarding process, can reduce how often and how badly employees steal. 

With proper whistleblowing procedures and systems in place and with encouragement to report suspicious behavior among employees, employee theft can be further reduced.


Retail is sometimes a busy place with many moving parts, which can lead to mistakes that put both employees and customers at risk. This is another one of the biggest problems in retail. It is critical to find ways to make the workplace safer so that team members can focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about safety.

Aside from the obvious solutions like fire extinguishers, first aid kits and other safety measures that should be in every workplace and in every industry, continuing education is another powerful way to reduce safety issues in a retail environment.

In summary

With the help of a good whistle-blower policy and whistleblowing system, such as those offered at Visslan, you can ensure that employees and the brand are further protected.

It is also a good idea to regularly offer training for employees so that you do not only focus on new hires. It is common to get caught in that trap, especially in the retail trade, as employees rarely stay for a long time at one and the same workplace, and new employees frequently start working in the store.

Make sure to detect problems before they become too big and thus protect your important brand!

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