Over the past 12 months, there has been a growing focus on the important role whistleblowers play in speaking up and raising issues within companies. Global statistics show that when it comes to fraud and corruption, over 40% of matters are detected by a tip-off made through a through a hotline. So, what is a hotline?
In short hotlines are an alternate channel for employees, contractors, and suppliers to speak up to raise concerns about fraud, corruption and employee misconduct. If an employee doesn’t feel safe speaking to their manager or manager once removed, a hotline provides an alternate method to report potential fraud and misconduct.
Traditional whistleblower hotlines are now giving way to more generic integrity and ethics hotlines as companies look to encourage their employees to speak up and report any concerns which may affect the company, it’s employees and their customers. Issues around bullying, harassment, and discrimination along with poor leadership culture are now being encouraged to be reported through hotlines along with the more traditional issues such as fraud, theft, and corruption.
Despite the increased focus on the importance of whistleblowers and hotlines, unfortunately, most are yet to truly appreciate the value an independent hotline can bring to their organisation.
At mwah., having had considerable experience with Hotlines and Confidential Ethics Lines, we can’t speak highly enough of having a Confidential Hotline in place.
Benefits of a hotline
Having an independently managed integrity and whistleblower hotline helps companies foster and promote a culture of speaking up.
It demonstrates the companies’ commitment to a strong ethical culture and that it is serious about uncovering fraud, corruption, and employee related issues like bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Importantly, an externally managed hotline provides a safe mechanism for employees to speak up with either confidentially or anonymously and provides necessary protections to ensure they are not persecuted for speaking up.
When to a company should implement a hotline (and what to consider)
Any company that is serious about promoting a strong, ethical culture should consider implementing an externally managed integrity and whistleblowing hotline.
It demonstrates a commitment from senior management that it takes integrity and ethical issues seriously and has the benefit of protecting the reputation, people and the bottom line.
When managed well, it also provides a safe and confidential way for your team to raise important issues – issues that you need to hear about.
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