Are you confident that your workforce feels empowered and secure enough to make complaints without fear of retribution or repercussion? Many issues in the workplace go unnoticed by management, because those affected do not feel comfortable with the act of making a complaint. An effective complaints or “Whistleblowing” procedure can significantly increase morale in the workplace, while simultaneously reducing the risk of dishonest or immoral employee behaviour.
What is Whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing occurs when an employee feels unable to make a complaint through the correct channels, and resorts to going outside of their usual line of reporting. Reports are often made anonymously, as the whistleblower fears retribution from the perpetrator, or worries that they will not be taken seriously by management. Reports may be made to an internal party, however in more extreme cases they may go straight to an external such as a government, Member of Parliament or even a newspaper.
Why a Whistleblowing Procedure is Important
In many cases, employees do not voice their concerns, however in some cases they may resort to extreme methods of complaining simply because they feel that there is no reporting channel that they can trust within their organisation. Perhaps the offending party is their superior, or they feel that the information they are holding will not be properly considered if reported internally.
Without an effective Whistleblowing procedure in place, you may be failing to uncover any number of workplace incidences, including fraud, workplace harassment or theft. Moreover, without a safe and reliable process for complaints, your employees may feel inhibited or conflicted, affecting morale and potentially leaving you liable to charges of employee neglect, and in some cases in breach of your insurance policy.
At Regents, our preferred system for Whistleblowing, is a hotline by which any employee, contractor or third party is able to make a complaint anonymously or otherwise through a number a mediums. All complaints should be recorded, independently investigated and acted upon promptly.
Communication of the Whistleblowing hotline is crucial to ensuring that employees have faith in the process. We recommend that the programme be seen to be independent of senior management, and where possible to ensure that it is run by an external party with no bias or internal influence. We would also suggest that the complainant is informed of the action taken following their report.
By implementing a Whistleblowing procedure, you can empower your employees and make them watchdogs for your organisation and its assets.
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