World Whistleblowers Day – on June 23 2022 – is an opportunity to celebrate those individuals who have bravely spoken up about a wide variety of workplace issues, and also those organisations that have embraced and promoted the concept of whistleblowing and speaking out – By Tim Smith, Operations Director, Safecall.
The benefits of whistleblowing to wider society and the public interest of these whistleblowers being heard are obvious but it can sometimes be forgotten how much courage it can take for individuals to come forward and speak up.
Existing whistleblowing legislation and the recent European Whistleblowing Directive provide a driver to enable whistleblowing channels. But there are, just as importantly, many other positive outcomes from implementing an open, transparent, anonymous and effective management system for reporting concerns.
Employees, investors and other stakeholders increasingly want to see that businesses are demonstrably managed in an ethical and sustainable way. One of the ways to do this is to give staff a voice that can be heard.
Not only does this voice need to be heard, but the owner of the voice needs to know that having spoken up there are investigation systems and processes in place to handle their concerns appropriately and to shield them from fear of retribution.
This fear of victimisation is a regularly aired concern for whistleblowers reporting via Safecall.
Real or perceived this perception can only be overcome by operating a robust whistleblowing policy that not only embraces the concept of protection but also champions those who use it.
A more open, transparent and effective whistleblowing policy will not only satisfy investors but will make workplaces safer, more welcoming and attractive to both current and future employees reducing staff turnover and minimising associated recruitment costs.
In effect, what I am really saying is that having a whistleblowing policy is sometimes legally required, but is also ethically sound and good for business.
There are numerous examples of how whistleblowers have changed the world for good, but I also see daily examples of the negative consequences of not having a robust whistleblowing process in the news.
You would be amazed how many times I think ‘I’ll bet that company wish they had heard about that issue at an early stage when they could have done something about it!‘
So, on World Whistleblowers Day this year, I ask all employers to spare a thought for their employees.
If they already have a whistleblowing reporting hotline in place, then fantastic. They’re leading the way in ethical reporting of wrongdoing and also helping to futureproof a business’s reputation against any scandal.
If a company hasn’t got any reporting system in place, it’s time to review and consider giveing staff the opportunity to let managers/owners what is happening in their organisation and celebrate when they do so.