Using the Employee Hotline

An employee, sitting at her desk, can’t help but overhear what the manager says and does to another employee.  Another employee walks into the break room and sees someone hastily wipes away tears.  Then, there’s the employee walking to his car when a co-worker opens up about problems in the workplace.

Is there anything that an employee can do in these types of situations when they want to help?

One of the most difficult workplace situations is when a third party is more capable or more willing to lead the charge to reporting than the employee who is being victimized or put at risk.  Worse still when an employee has to weigh involving management versus the security of their own job, whether it will make the situation worse for their fellow employee, and if management will seriously consider the report.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way for the workforce, particularly at a company that is pro-active and progressive through the use of a confidential employee hotline as part of a robust compliance program.  Offering an anonymous employee hotline assures all employees that management will review concerns and appropriately respond in an organized fashion.  It also communicates the effort by management to provide protection from retaliation or recrimination by the offending person.

The topics to which these employee scenarios can occur are many, including fraud, harassment, discrimination, and drug and alcohol use.  For some employees who are wrapped up in an unhealthy dynamic, their own ability to self-report may be limited.  It may be that the only route through which an appropriate response can be triggered is when a concerned co-worker submits an anonymous e-mail or telephone call to share their concern, along with their request for assistance from within the company.

In these scenarios, it’s not just employee morale that can be lifted when there is a confidential hotline for reporting – it’s also the company’s bottom line.  Workplace harassment can easily become a lawsuit filed against the offending party and the company.  Alcohol or drug use can quickly become a workplace or on-the-job accident that becomes a compensation or disability claim or even a third party lawsuit.

Situations are common when having an open door policy simply isn’t enough to draw out the kinds of workplace information that can help management achieve a safe, stable, and satisfied workforce.  Adding an employee hotline with reporting response procedures will both reassure employees and also elicit valuable information.  For that employee who is a witness who wants to help, the employee hotline turns their worries into worth.