Ethics Hotlines Are Best Practice

What is a Best Practice?

A best practice is a commercial or industry convention that has become standard. Many fast food restaurants, for instance, offer free refills. They do this because the cost of soda is relatively cheap, but also because all their competitors do it, too. Their business would be less effective in keeping their customers coming back without this practice, and the market has made it virtually mandatory. The institution of a code of ethics, as referenced above, has long since passed into the realm of being a corporate best practice. Handing out a handbook on employee behavior at the time of hiring has become a little like the business version of a free refill. Since then, though, certain methods of insuring compliance with the organization’s code of ethics have also become common best practices.

What is An Ethics Hotline?

If you are at the Ethical Advocate website, you likely already know the answer to this.  However, here are details.  An “ethics hotline” is a website and phone number employees can access to anonymously report ethics violations they’ve experienced or that they’ve seen others experience. Because a code of ethics, much like actual law, must touch on several different kinds of expectations and obligations, many organizations choose to set up multiple, topic-dependent, hotlines. Thus, some companies operate one hotline for employees to report financial misbehavior, another for sexual harassment issues, and yet another for instances of racial or ethnic discrimination. All of these are common violations of organizational ethics, but they’re also all quite factually different.  When an organization uses a service such as Ethical Advocate’s, they fortunately can combine all of these needs under one customized hotline system.

How are Ethics Hotlines a Compliance Best Practice?

Because companies are not actually states or countries, they can often struggle to enforce their own rules even when those rules are a vital aspect of their operations. An ethics hotline allows an organization to essentially “deputize” it’s workforce, allowing dedicated employees who are interested in keeping their work-community safe and efficient to self-police the code of ethics. If an employee with the authority to hire and fire begins abusing this power to make co-workers uncomfortable, the anonymous ethics hotline can focus attention on this employees potentially bad behavior. And work spaces that are able to quickly dispatch abusive community members are happier, healthier, and more efficient, all of which lead to better outcomes, increased satisfaction, and very often a nice return on investment. Ultimately, an ethics hotline is an inexpensive but vital way of keeping your employees safe and your business running smoothly.