It’s vital for businesses to address ethics concerns quickly and effectively. Otherwise, this could lead to distrust of co-workers, management and even reporting methods. In fact, failure to address concerns in a timely manner is one of the reasons some employees don’t trust whistleblower hotlines.
It’s just as important to have an investigation process in place as a reporting process. Doing this helps you improve your business and make employees more comfortable letting you know about unethical practices.
Make Them Easy To Report
The first step is to make the reporting process as easy as possible. Otherwise, concerns might not reach the right people. Ensure every employee and even customer knows the reporting process along with how you plan to investigate concerns. Without any details on how and when concerns are investigated, no one may report anything.
You don’t have to limit your business to a hotline either. Assign people throughout your business to gather complaints. This gives employees more than just their supervisor or HR to report to. With an anonymous hotline, reviewers are notified in real-time through an easy reporting system.
Avoid Common Mistakes
Sadly, businesses often make mistakes when it comes to dealing with ethics complaints. Even simple concerns should warrant an investigation as they may be a symptom of a bigger issue. Another issue is showing favoritism. If those who are supposed to address concerns ignore certain employees, but favor others, it’ll create a toxic work environment where ethics aren’t respected at all.
Have A Clear Investigation Policy
Train everyone on how to investigate concerns so you can address them more quickly. Have a timeline in place for how quickly you’ll review concerns, how long a typical investigation should take and when the reporter should expect to see some sort of action taking place.
If you have a hotline in place, make sure anonymous reporters can check the status of their concern. This will at least let them see that you are taking it seriously.
Ask For Details Upfront
When an employee or customer comes to a manager or HR administrator face to face, it’s much easier to ask for more specific details. Sometimes, businesses can’t address concerns simply because they don’t have enough details. With anonymous hotlines, it’s harder to get more facts before jumping into an investigation. This is another reason to provide a way for whistleblowers to update or check on complaints.
To make this easier overall, have a system in place for various types of complaints along with a list of details to provide. The more detail, the quicker you’ll be able to address the concern.
Put Concerns First
Focus on investigating all concerns immediately. You can prioritize them as needed, but don’t ignore them. These should always be a priority over everything else as ignoring them could ruin your entire business.