You’ve added ethics hotlines to your to-do list this year for internal company policy updates. But you still have questions. You’re not alone. In fact, many companies that don’t already have ethics hotlines in place have plenty of common first questions before implementing new policies. To help guide your decision and next steps, we’ve outlined ethic hotline FAQs and answers you need to move forward.
1. Why Are Ethics Hotlines Considered a Best Practice?
Regardless of your business industry or the nature of your operations, ethics hotlines are best practice because they provide employees, vendors, and guests an anonymous channel to report missteps on the job. Fraudulent activities can be safely reported confidentially, helping to reduce instances of violations that often lead to costly fines and remedies.
2. What Happens When Someone Calls an Ethics Hotline?
Typically, companies can set up ethics hotlines in a manner that makes the most sense for internal company structure. In most instances, an ethics hotline routes calls to either a third-party, such as Ethical Advocate, for proper reporting and documentation. From there, the company can install a series of protocols for internal investigations. Every report notification is quickly sent to the appropriate manager or department head for follow-up and resolution.
3. Do Ethics Hotlines Prevent Wrongdoing?
While it’s unclear just how many company violations are deterred as a result of an ethics hotline, there is data to support other benefits. Wrongdoers will always present risks. However, it’s the ethics hotline that can provide a line of reporting and support for companies to identify and remedy instances of fraud or other violations. One study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found 46% of companies that found occupational fraud learned through their ethics hotline.
4. What Kinds of Misconduct Can Be Reported with an Ethics Hotline?
Ethics hotlines are helpful in reporting fraud or ethics violations, for anyone who seeks to call out incidents of financial misconduct, sexual harassment, abuse, embezzlement, falsification of records, accounting malfeasance, theft, or bribery. They can also be used for reporting company-specific violations, including those related to internal policies or safety, as well.
5. Who Can Report a Violation Using an Ethics Hotline?
When you implement an ethics hotline, you should roll it out to everyone involved with your company. All employees, including seasonal or temporary hires, should be educated on its availability. Additionally, your company vendors, clients, on-premises guests, and visitors should all have access to your ethics hotline to be the most effective.
6. What Can an Ethics Hotline Help Your Company Achieve?
With the right partner, an ethics hotline can help you do more than just provide anonymous reporting channels for policy violations. Imagine having data at your fingertips about violation specifics like location and department metrics. Spot trends and have access to reports to monitor and manage all hotline activities. Ethics hotlines can help your organization be proactive and diligent about managing risks in every corner of your business.
If you have ongoing questions about how to set up an ethics hotline or need advice about where to get started, let Ethical Advocate be your guide.