Celebrate Hotlines Anytime

You may recall that last year and for many prior years “corporate compliance & ethics week” has been held in May. This year the formal celebration week has been moved to November, but that does not mean you cannot celebrate compliance and ethics activities this month or anytime you choose.

Organizations often use the formal week to highlight the importance of ethics and compliance at work and to raise awareness about policies and expectations, existing tools such as ethics hotlines, and related topics. Some use the week to roll out new training programs or initiatives. Many incorporate a sense of fun and celebration as part of the planned activities—in fact, that’s part of the point.

Every one of those objectives could be accomplished throughout the year, in small chunks, as part of an effort to keep employee awareness and engagement high. Let’s use ethics hotlines as an example.

Ethics hotlines are core to many organizational ethics and compliance initiatives. Effective hotline programs and other initiatives to encourage employee reporting of suspected wrongdoing enable organizations to identify and respond to problems relatively quickly. They also provide an avenue for employees who have questions about ethics policies and boundaries. However, hotlines cannot be effective unless they are used. They will be used as long as employees are aware of them, believe in them, remain educated about how and when to use them, and see them as a benefit to themselves and the organization. A good way to keep awareness high throughout the year is to supplement the formal, typically annual communication tools you use with short, informal activities such as the following.

·         Posters or online infographics that prominently feature the ethics hotline number or website and contain such features as bold colors or graphics, examples of situations employees should report, and short, relevant quotes from leaders and staff. Change them up throughout the year.

·         Giveaways: notepads, pens, refrigerator magnets, wallet cards, or other small items containing the ethics hotline contact information, offered as part of a hotline event (mini-fair; ethics office open house; etc.)

·          Web meetings: Live and recorded (short) sessions led by company executives and featuring hotline-related interactive surveys; sample scenarios, and quizzes about hotline facts and figures. Employees who participate could be given coupons for a beverage or snack at the cafeteria, or some other small consideration.

These are just a few examples of ways to supplement formal (and necessary) hotline communications with celebratory activities designed to keep the hotline “top of mind” for your employees. There’s no need to wait for this November’s corporate ethics & compliance week.

With Ethical Advocate’s ethics hotline, persons desiring to report incidents, indiscretions, or suggestions via a hotline can do so securely, 24/7/365, with privacy and anonymity, on the Internet in 17 languages, or through its Call Center in 200 languages. Please contact us for more information.