Ethics and compliance reports are the perfect way to improve your business. However, if they’re not being investigated, dangerous issues may be ignored.
While ethics and compliance are two different areas, both areas are critical to an ethical and safe work culture. Reports show weaknesses that must be addressed.
Create Clear Policies
Establish a clear set of policies regarding ethics and compliance reports. Explain why they matter, what data should be included and who is responsible for reviewing them. Otherwise, reports might not be sent to the right people or filled out correctly. Plus, reports might not be filed at all if employees, including management, don’t feel they’re necessary.
Train On The Process
Even if reports are being reviewed, staff might not be doing it correctly. Provide in-depth training on how reports should be investigated. Create a system for reviewing, investigating and reporting findings. Also, train on the communication process. Who should be notified about issues? What checks and balances are in place?
The better the process, the easier it is to ensure reports are being checked. Even more importantly, reports are being acted upon to resolve problems.
Get Employees Involved
Give employees the power to report issues as they encounter them. This can be anonymous or not. However, when employees are reporting issues, their reports should be checked within a set time frame, which should be included in your ethics and compliance policies.
If reports age without investigation, ask employees to file a secondary report stating their first report hasn’t been addressed yet. The team should ensure the investigation is proceeding. This creates a system of accountability, reducing the chance of human error or ethical issues.
Ask For Detailed Reports
If the employees in charge of checking ethics and compliance reports aren’t held accountable, they may not take their job seriously. They may accept bribes to make certain things disappear from reports or destroy a report completely. They might also ignore reports from employees they don’t like.
Ethics committees, management and business owners should ask for detailed monthly reports about any and all issues along with what actions were taken. This creates accountability, though things can still slip through the cracks. Using a third party hotline service that maintains accurate reporting records can address this, too.
Use Multiple People
When you use only one person to check reports, there’s a risk of those people using their position unethically. If you vary who checks reports, you drastically reduce this risk. Plus, those who are unethical are caught up with easier.
Make Reports Easy To File
Obviously, if ethics and compliance reports aren’t easy to file, there won’t be anything to check. Setting up an ethics hotline to report both ethics and compliance issues makes it easy for anyone inside and outside of your company to file reports. However, ensure employees that anyone reporting issues will be safe from any type of retribution.