There are plenty of benefits for incorporating an ethics hotline into your business policy. But for those companies with workplace safety as a primary pillar of operations, the ethics hotline can offer far more critical advantages. If your operations are tightly monitored through a lens of employee safety and best practices, here are a few key reasons to have an ethics hotline in place.
1. Uncover Misconduct Sooner & Prevent Accidents
Improving the timeliness of investigations helps to reduce their duration. For example, the average duration until detection for fraud is about 18 months. That’s the difference between remaining in business or closing down for smaller firms since they don’t have the means to cover these sorts of issues. And in the event of a safety violation, having an ethics hotline means uncovering the employee misstep before it turns into a costly or drawn-out incident, serious accident or near-miss event.
2. Creating a Speak Up Culture
You can post safety signs and impose robust workplace safety policies, but to truly create a culture of speaking up, an ethics hotline can be a critical addition. The hotline serves as an outlet for anyone walking a shop floor, visiting a facility, or working in your space to use to report potential safety violations. The anonymity will ensure employees feel free to report what they see and hear, without fear of retaliation, as well. The more safety reporting company leaders receive, the safer the workplace can be for everyone.
3. Becoming Aware of Deeper Issues and Concerns
An ethics hotline is great for reporting workplace safety violations. But it can also be a valuable resource for uncovering other issues or concerns behind unsafe behavior. For example, maybe there is a current process that needs to be revamped for safer operations. Keep your safety finger on the pulse of what happens in your workplace beyond the occasional incident, and always be aware of policies or procedures that need improvement.
4. Ethics Hotlines Keep Company Issues In-House
When employees have an internal process for reporting ethical dilemmas, they’ll use it. But when staff members feel their voices aren’t heard, or the internal HR process for reporting isn’t effective, they’ll venture outside the company to seek remediation. Give your internal teams the first chance to address concerns when they arise, especially regarding safety, and avoid facing external violations or fines. As SHRM points out, there have been increasing numbers of OSHA reported safety issues regarding COVID-19 alone. Having an ethics hotline can help by giving your internal management teams an opportunity to affect the necessary safety changes.
5. Ethics Hotlines Are Convenient & Efficient
Your teams may decide against raising an issue or reporting unsafe behavior if there is a pile of paperwork to complete or complicated procedures required to submit. An ethics hotline presents a super-efficient and convenient way for employees to report what they see, without all the red tape. The easier it is to raise your hand about a concern, the more apt you will be to do so.
6. The Third-Party Hotline Leverages Perspective
If your workplace safety reporting process requires employees to follow a complicated chain of command, there is a chance those issues don’t make it to the next level of management for improvement. Concerns and issues may die in departmental exchanges or lose meaning with each escalation. Having a third-party ethics hotline means having an objective perspective receiving the safety complaint and relaying its severity and nature to the appropriate company leader for immediate remedy.
If workplace safety is a pillar of your company operations, you should consider implementing a third-party ethics hotline. It can be just the tool your employees need to feel encouraged to report unsafe workplace behaviors. Ultimately, it can keep your teams safer in the long run and improve your safety stats ongoing.