Your People Are Key to Protecting Your Business
Wrongdoing in your business affects both your financial and your social capital. A 2016 survey by EY across 40 major businesses concluded that 42% of internal fraud came to light through employees speaking-up. Add to that the positive effect for employees, customers, shareholders, and regulators of genuine assurance that your Board understands how to encourage your own people to uncover wrongdoing - and has an internal whistleblowing system that can deliver - and you boost your social capital too.
Speaking-Up Requires Trust
Trust is the most perishable of all commodities and the foundation of a successful internal whistleblowing capability. Your internal procedure and those that run it need to gain, nurture and sustain trust - all efforts should be focused upon it. If your people trust the system then they will feel able to use it and "speak-up". If they distrust the system they will feel they have no alternative but to ignore it and "speak-out" to the press, regulators or on social media - the resultant effects on your reputation, market position and shareprice are never positive.
Employees Who Speak-Up have Simple Needs...
...but satisfying them is demanding. Addveritas believes that to speak-up with confidence employees want to be sure of 5-basic things:
They will be taken seriously
Their identities will remain protected
They will not suffer retaliation from their employer
Their concern will be properly investigated
If their concern is substantiated, something will be done
Managing Internal Whistleblowing is a Specialist Activity
Your business is complex - nuanced. You will always be forced to handle some aspects of a whistleblowing report internally and you need to get this right. There are a number of ways to receive, triage and investigate the report - in-house or outsourced; web or voice; human-to-human or recorded message, there is no single right answer. It all depends on your business and your risk appetite. But you need to have a spectrum of options designed with your business in mind to do whistleblowing well.
Addveritas Puts You Back In Control
If you do not have a system or if you handle internal whistleblowers with anything less than consistent excellence, your people simply will not speak-up - instead they will contact others outside the Company. The instant they decide to do that, you have lost control of the issue and will be on 'the back foot' with your reputation and share price a hostage to fortune. By contrast, if your people trust your whistleblowing system and are happy to speak up internally, you are granted the time and space to digest the report and consider how you deal with it. You regain the initiative and you own the nature and timescale of your reaction. Only then can you learn lessons and improve resilience.