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Anonymous Reporting: How to Encourage Employees to Speak Up Without Fear

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Helena Jezkova

4 min read

These days, the presence of an anonymous whistleblowing channel is an absolute must for all companies and organizations serious about fostering a positive working environment.

Anonymous reporting allows employees, suppliers and other stakeholders to report unethical conduct as well as to suggest improvements to the working culture or to address other issues without fear of retaliation. 

Establishing channels for anonymous reporting is not only important for your company culture and employee wellbeing, but it also ensures you are compliant with the EU Whistleblowing Directive or any other standards and certifications that apply to your operation. 

Check out our article on standards and certification which require the introduction of a whistleblowing system.

However, as you might expect, it is not always easy to encourage your employees or other stakeholders to report their suspicions or concerns about misconduct. Often this comes down to fear, be it the fear of retribution of some kind, such as missing out on a promotion or some other kind of discrimination, or simply the fear of causing a fuss in the workplace and being ostracized by their colleagues.

Another major reason individuals are hesitant to report unethical conduct is a phenomenon called ‘The Onlooker Effect’, where people choose to take no action under the wrongful assumption that someone else will. You can read more about this in our blog article.

The Benefits of Anonymous Reporting

Anonymous reporting helps to create open communication, it provides a secure channel for employees to raise concerns or simply to request guidance or clarification on certain issues.

Regarding misconduct, we know that 75% of employees prefer to share suspicions with an external party, rather than their superiors. The fear of retaliation mentioned above is a real factor here, with anonymous reporting representing an obvious solution.

Implementing a whistleblowing platform in general, especially one which allows for anonymous reporting has some other significant benefits, such as protecting your organization’s reputation (since issues are addressed internally), saving the money lost to internal fraud (5% of total revenue, on average), reducing employee turnover, avoiding criminal liability, and ensuring organizations meet their legal responsibilities. 

More on why it pays to introduce a whistleblowing system.

Some real world examples…

Let’s take a brief look at how anonymous reporting has led to improved workplace culture and a reduction in unethical behavior for some of our clients. 

For instance, Industrial company AKKA reported back how FaceUp allows them to obtain more feedback and ideas from colleagues than was the case previously.

 “We used to hold regular meetings, but no one raised anything. Now, before each event we invite employees to use FaceUp to tell us what’s on their mind. People really do send in questions.”

Or take the case of Vitkovice Steel, where, just after introducing FaceUp, 70% of reports were anonymous, yet this actually decreased over time to 30%, since employees no longer felt that they needed to hide behind anonymity, thus demonstrating the improved workplace culture.

Finally, the Brno Municipal Office found that, besides resolving a long-standing issue of workplace bullying which ended in the removal of the individual in question, introducing an anonymous whistleblowing platform even led to an increase in productivity.

Read more from our clients.

How to Encourage Anonymous Reporting

Encouraging your employees to submit reports, even anonymously can sometimes be a challenge. 

It is key to create a culture of trust and transparency in the workplace, which starts at the top. This includes behavior such as clear communication, being held accountable for your actionsdoing what you say you’ll do, and fostering connection and collaboration between colleagues.

When implementing an anonymous reporting channel, as part of a whistleblower platform or otherwise, it’s important to start with first of those behaviors: clear communication. 

It is crucial to ‘launch’ your channel, making an announcement to colleagues and setting the guidelines for engaging with it. 

Employees may need to be provided with training and education on how to use the system, and it is important to establish who is the individual or individuals in charge of receiving and investigating reports.

More on how to effectively implement a whistleblowing platform.

Why Introduce a Whistleblowing Platform?

Whistleblowing platforms are a very effective tool for anonymous reporting due to the host of features that they come with. 

Unlike telephone hotlines, email and physical trust boxes which are now a thing of the past, whistleblowing software offers a secure, encrypted way to anonymously report issues. Such platforms conform to the highest level of data protection, thus providing further reassurance to whistleblowers. 

Whistleblowing platforms such as FaceUp are easy-to-use and can be customized to fit within your company’s existing brand guidelines. Such software can easily be integrated into existing solutions, such as HR programmes or your company website.

Interested in learning more about how to go about implementing an anonymous whistleblowing platform in your organization? Get in touch with us today to arrange a free demo, or browse some of FaceUp’s features.

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Helena Jezkova

4 min read
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