When employees make reports or offer tips about ethical concerns, they are offering their employers a gift. Such reports and tips provide the best opportunity for employers to quickly detect and address instances of ethical misconduct, and to do so internally rather than in the public eye.
Ethics hotlines are an excellent tool for providing employees a means to report their concerns, especially when set up to allow for anonymity and confidentiality. As 2015 approaches, it’s a good time to make some New Year’s resolutions about your ethics hotline. Here are some suggestions and related information.
Perform a hotline diagnostic check: Plan to review your ethics hotline to ensure it is still functioning the way you intended it to. Don’t just assume it is; prove it to yourself. You could start by comparing your hotline features to the eighteen features of highly effective ethics and compliance systems.
Review provider performance: There are many reasons to use third-party hotline providers; they offer credible, cost-effective, and professional means of managing effective ethics and compliance hotlines. You can do both them and yourselves a service by scheduling an annual review to assess performance and discuss future plans.
Increase employee reporting rates: As the Ethics Resource Center so aptly reported in 2014, every non-report of an ethical concern is a lost opportunity to identify and correct problems and to prevent their reoccurrence. Review the general guidelines we’ve suggested for increasing ethics hotline reporting and resolve to encourage even more participation from your staff this year as compared to last year.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate: One of the best ways to ensure that employees use the ethics hotline as often as necessary and for the right reasons is to keep hotline awareness high. There are many effective ways to do this. The only rule is, communicate often.
Ethical Advocate wishes you and your staff a joyous holiday season and we look forward to supporting your ethics and compliance initiatives in the New Year.