As whistleblowing becomes more commonplace, a disturbing trend continues to emerge – companies victimizing their staff. Sadly, sometimes whistleblowing becomes a witch hunt versus a legitimate way to become a better company.
As a result, those who try to step forward are the ones punished. This doesn’t just hurt the whistleblower, but other staff members as well.
Creates A Toxic Culture
In general, most employees want the same thing – a positive, safe work culture. While they’d all usually love higher salaries too, they’re happier and more productive when they don’t fear coming to work. When companies victimize their staff, they’re showing that employees don’t matter. They prove that it’s okay for staff to be harassed, bullied and treated unethically.
Even worse, when someone is brave enough to report problems, they’re suddenly demoted or fired. This makes other employees afraid and creates a toxic culture of bully or be bullied.
There are several negative side effects that come from whistleblowing, including mental health issues. The more staff are victimized, the more issues they may mentally and emotionally. Not only do they start having trouble doing their current job, but they might have difficulties getting a new job. The constant abuse of being treated unfairly and being harassed by others at work ruins futures.
This doesn’t just happen to a single victim. Employees who witness this happening, but are too afraid to report it, may also suffer the same negative consequences. While the business goes on, the staff fall apart.
Companies get so caught up in trying to sweep unethical issues under the proverbial rug that they forget about the positive aspects of whistleblowing. Instead of victimizing staff, they should praise those who speak up. With every whistleblower report that’s investigated and fixed, a company improves.
For instance, if harassment is a common issue at your company, word will eventually get out, especially from employees who have been victimized. This hurts your company’s reputation and makes it more difficult to hire skilled employees. Ignoring reports of fraud hurts the bottom line. Of course, handling ethical issues correctly helps save a business on legal fees and lawsuits later.
When you see someone doing something wrong, you have three choices. Report it, ignore it or join in. When companies victimize their staff, many employees won’t even consider reporting it. After all, they’ll just have to deal with being treated badly as a result. Ignoring it results in guilt and issues between employees.
Finally, some employees will decide to take the easiest approach and join in. They want to fit in and avoid becoming a victim. Instead of just a few unethical employees, a company becomes filled with them. This is because the company is showing employees that this is the type of behavior they want.
Whistleblowers aren’t a bad thing. Companies need to ensure they are listening, investigating and making positive changes. It is the only way to support whistleblowers and create a thriving, ethical business.