Why Having A Whistleblowing Channel Is Important

Unfortunately, unlawful and immoral activity will sometimes occur in an organisation. People who alert others to this immoral or unlawful activity are called whistleblowers. 

Whistleblowers are incredibly important. They contribute to workplace accountability and help eliminate workplace misconduct. A global study on fraud and abuse found that at least 35% of fraud is discovered through whistleblowing. So, it’s important to encourage whistleblowing and ensure that the process is effective. 

To encourage whistleblowing, it’s vital to have a whistleblowing channel in place to allow employees to confidentially report potential misconduct in the workplace. 

Do not confuse whistleblowing with reporting non-conformities though. Reporting non-conformities is simply the process of alerting a superior to a deviation from the work standards. Whistleblowing involves reporting instances of workplace misconduct like fraud.

What Is The Purpose Of Whistleblowing?

Whistleblowing can serve many purposes. First, it can help prevent the unethical and/or illegal conduct in question from continuing. If no one reports this conduct, it’s a lot easier for it to continue without consequences. 

Second, whistleblowing helps provide detailed insight into the conduct. Whistleblowers are typically people who are close to the misconduct. Thus, they are usually able to provide detailed information about it that might not be available to others. 

Third, whistleblowing is the right thing to do. It contributes to an ethical, legal workplace and society. It encourages transparency and accountability in the workplace.


Types Of Whistleblowing

There are two main types of whistleblowing: internal whistleblowing and external whistleblowing.

Internal whistleblowing is when an employee reports unlawful and/or immoral activity to the company involved in this activity. 

External whistleblowing occurs when an employee reports unlawful and/or immoral activity to an outside source. The case of Jeffrey Wigand is a good example of external whistleblowing. He spoke out against the company he worked for, exposing their manipulation of nicotine in their tobacco products. 

Internal whistleblowing is generally a lot less damaging to a company. If an employee reports the issue to the company, the company can identify the cause of the problem and deal with the problem internally. They can then fix the issue without having to suffer reputational damage.


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The 3 Steps In Whistleblowing Reporting

There are three main steps in whistleblowing reporting:

  1. The employee makes a report. This should include everything the employee knows about the misconduct and any evidence they may have on it.  
  2. Evaluate the information and investigate the matter. Look into the matter further and talk to employees who may be involved in or close to the alleged misconduct.
  3. If you uncover any misconduct, you must take appropriate action to resolve the matter.


The Main Features Of A Whistleblowing Channel

There are two essential features a whistleblowing channel must have. 

The first is confidentiality. Your whistleblower must remain anonymous and know that they will be anonymous. This encourages them to report misconduct. 

The second is accessibility. Your whistleblowing channel must be accessible to every single employee in the company. They must know that it exists and how to use it should the need arise.


Final Thoughts

When companies have a whistleblowing channel, this encourages internal and external notices which helps companies promote an ethical, sustainable, legal workplace and avoid reputational harm.


If your organisation is looking for a 360° whistleblowing tool to involve all employees, service providers and external stakeholders to improve the quality of your operations, have a look at Falcony | Whistleblowing or contact us for more information.

We are building the world's first operational involvement platform. Our mission is to make the process of finding, sharing, fixing and learning from issues and observations as easy as thinking about them and as rewarding as being remembered for them.‍

By doing this, we are making work more meaningful for all parties involved.

More information at falcony.io.

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