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2023 the year of whistleblowers?

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Reporting is demanding accountability at the highest level. However, when people hear about the reports, it’s usually because the case has already made headlines as a major scandal – like the scale of Theranos’ recent conviction, for example. Of course, when most public opinion reports are this large, it can be difficult to speak out.

However, the notification process is not restricted to major scandals; Reporting more regular wrongdoing can improve any company’s safety and compliance. When it comes to reporting, employees can feel unsupported when the company discourages a culture of speaking up. This is why every company must provide its employees with easy-to-use means of reporting. It is now much easier thanks to improved technologies that simplify the process.

When employees see or hear about whistleblowing and want to speak up internally, it’s important for companies to have strong whistleblower protection strategies in place. Some people rightly fear potential negative reactions from their colleagues or the company when they speak up. Therefore, ensuring that whistleblowers know their complaints will be dealt with fairly and ensuring anonymity is a key part of encouraging a culture of reporting.

Contributions to the European Whistleblower Directive

Until the implementation of the European Whistleblower Directive, whistleblowers did not benefit from any legal protection. Since 2019, the Directive has helped bring about changes in three specific areas:

  • Detect and prevent misconduct, illegal activity, and regulatory irregularities.
  • Create more robust and efficient confidential and secure reporting channels.
  • Protect and favor whistleblowers by ensuring confidentiality and anonymity.

The European directive on the protection of whistleblowers has been transformed into French law by the law of March 21, 2022 known as “Wasserman’s Law”which came into force on September 1, 2022. More urgent than the European directive, it strengthens whistleblower status and any company with more than 50 employees must comply with it.

Reporters: accurate circumference

Telephone hotlines have long been the most common collection method for employee reports. An analysis by NAVEX (Regional Whistleblowing Hotline Measuring Report) found that they still made up more than a quarter of whistleblowers in 2021. But the EU’s Whistleblowing Directive requires any new whistleblowing strategy to have a range of access options – and it offers These technologies are several new ways.

the QR code invented in 1994, but wasn’t particularly used until the need for contactless accessibility became a priority during a pandemic. However, these easy-to-create bar codes are not limited to digital menus and are beginning to be used as key tools for receiving employee requests and reports. Adding a QR code to workplace posters, company websites, or at the end of employee email signatures allows easy access to Internet portals.

dp world, a global freight forwarding, logistics and freight solutions provider, has upgraded its Incident Reporting System to use a unified Incident Management System. Previous methods required informants to contact the call center using either English or Arabic. But DP World employees speak dozens of languages, so a more comprehensive and secure incident management program has been created. This included adding QR codes in the appropriate places to provide better information about helplines and direct the person to the most appropriate online portal in their language.

Initiatives of this kind have contributed to the development of online reporting portals but also to the use of other digital methods, in particular emails, which now represent 73% Of the total number of reports, according to the reference report mentioned above. Ensuring that employees have multiple means to report is another key way to promote a culture of transparency among employees.

Use of report data

The EU Whistleblower Directive promotes anonymity so that people feel safe and protected enough to report whistleblowing. By collecting non-personally identifiable information, as well as details about each individual issue, each report contains valuable data that companies can use to get a comprehensive picture of the types of recurring problems employees encounter.

This information, in turn, can be used to prepare corrective actions and focus groups. Results once analyzed make it possible to implement these actions – such as training programs – to improve life in the workplace. So while privacy should be the top priority for any data collected, it can also be used to help create the safe, regulated work environment that everyone deserves.

Benefits

Creating a speaking culture should be a truly collaborative, yet top-down, business-driven process. Every employee should feel empowered to report misconduct, such as harassment, that they witness; However, leaders are responsible for promoting programs.

Reporting strategies work, but only when employees are confident that they will not suffer retaliation and that appropriate action will be taken.

Editorial written by By Stéphane de Gotemps, Regional Vice President of Sales for France, Belgium and Luxembourg at NAVEX

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