Is Your Construction Ethics Hotline Working?

A construction ethics hotline helps keep your crew safer, improves the safety of projects and can even protect customers. But, what if you’re not seeing any results from the hotline?

Sadly, this is all too common. Construction companies implement a hotline, but either no one uses it or nothing ever seems to improve. The good news is you can change this.

No One Knows How To Use It

Sometimes, the biggest issue is no one actually knows how to use your construction ethics hotline. They’re not sure how to access it, how to file a report or what to expect when they’re done. Also, they might not know whether reports are anonymous or not.

Gather all construction employees together, not just management. Then, train everyone on the process. Explain why you’re implementing the hotline and encourage employees to use it when they need it.

Employees Fear For Their Job

Despite the fact that whistleblower retaliation is illegal and companies can face penalties for it, it still happens to whistleblowers. Retaliation can take a variety of forms, from harassment to being fired. Many employees are afraid of using your construction ethics hotline for fear of retaliation and ultimately losing their job.

Have policies in place that protect your whistleblowers. This is especially important if you’re dealing with smaller crews where it’s difficult for reports to stay completely anonymous. Without a guarantee of protection, your employees might allow unethical behavior to continue.

Employees Aren’t Aware Of What To Report

Often, employees aren’t sure what to report. Should they only report things that happen to them, such as being asked to work overtime off the clock with no extra pay? Or, do they report things they observe as well, such as the foreman ordering extra supplies just to take home?

During your ethics hotline training, explain everything construction employees need to report. They should be aware that they can report anything unethical that happens to or around them.

It’s Not Easy To Use

How easy is it to file a report? Does it require filling out several complicated forms? Can it be accessed online and in private? Employees will avoid your construction ethics hotline if it’s too hard to understand and use. Implement a straight-forward system and train employees on how to use it.

Then, ensure it’s easy to access. A quick online form that employees can access works well. You can also let employees file reports via a phone system.

Issues Aren’t Addressed

Finally, if you notice a sudden decline in reports, don’t celebrate too soon. It could be that employees aren’t using your construction ethics hotline because they haven’t seen any positive changes.

If no one’s investigating and dealing with ethics reports, employees won’t trust that the system works. Provide a set timeline for handling any reports. Even with anonymous systems, you can provide updates on outstanding issues. Of course, also follow through after an investigation. If you find evidence, ensure the issue is dealt with, such as firing a thief or someone using subpar supplies.

Your hotline has the power to improve your construction business. Make sure employees feel comfortable and confident using