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5 Ways to Improve Your Whistleblower System

How to create a system that will be fully utilized by your employees

Posted by Shannon Walker on February 2nd, 2016

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Many companies implement a whistleblower system, launching with a big announcement, talk the talk and then let the system fade quietly in the background.  If a whistleblower system (and open culture) are going to be successful there are 5 steps that you should consider in order for it to be fully appreciated, utilized and recognized by your employees.

1. Convince Management

First, when you launch your ethics hotline and whistleblower program, ensure that your CEO and management group truly buy into the concept.  The management team must not only introduce the system, but embrace it.  There is the overused term “Tone at the Top” but it is an integral component to entrenching the concept and the acceptance of the program throughout the organization.  An introductory letter from the CEO outlining the expectation of behavior and the responsibilities shared by all employees to ensure the organization and its integrity are protected from all types of wrongdoing.

2. Training

Second, train, train and re-train.  Use lunch and learns to introduce the system and to explain examples of ethical dilemmas.  Try role playing between teams to distinguish what behaviors qualify as an ethical breach.  Use videos, team challenges and sanitized actual cases to reinforce what the company considers unethical.

3. Anti-Retaliation Policies

Third, ensure there are strong anti-retaliation policies in place.  There is no point whatsoever in implementing a whistleblower program if there is a hint of retaliation being tolerated.  This includes social ostracization, demotions, harrassment etc.  It is absolutely key that the organization institute a zero tolerance policy against retaliation.

4. Educate

Fourth, educate your employees on the red flags that can help detect fraud.  Changes in lifestyle,  hints of substance abuse, gambling, gifts from suppliers or failure to take vacations are all subtle clues that there may be something else amiss.   Team members need to be educated on those events that may hint at disaster and the sooner a fraud is detected, the less damage to the organization – both from a financial perspective as well as a reputational one.

5. Emphasize Your Values

And finally, the fifth thing you can do to create a successful whistleblower program is to re-emphazie your values and ethics. By introducing an ethics and compliance program, you are communicating to your team that you value integrity, honesty and collaboration.  Research has show that ethical companies are more successful companies.

Shannon Walker
Shannon Walker

Founder and President, WhistleBlower Security Inc.

Shannon Walker is the Founder and President of WhistleBlower Security Inc., an ethics and risk management company with clients worldwide, that protects and shelters organizations through allowing employees to anonymously report cases of fraud, embezzlement, and harassment, etc.
Shannon served on West Vancouver District Council from 2008-2011. She currently sits on the Dr. Peter Aids Foundation, Dr. Peter Housing Society Boards and the West Vancouver District’s Community Centre Society Services Board.

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