Anonymous Workplace Reporting Empowering Employees and Unveiling Benefits for Companies
Corporate culture

Anonymous Workplace Reporting: Empowering Employees and Unveiling Benefits for Companies

Anonymous workplace reporting is where employees or any other stakeholders of a business or organization notify the relevant person in that organization of unethical or illegal conduct, without fear of recrimination.  Allowing employees and other individuals to report misconduct or make general suggestions anonymously has a multitude of benefits. These include but are not limited to: Helping to create a culture of transparency and open communication, building trust within a workplaceProviding a secure channel where employees can request guidance, raise queries and make potentially transformative suggestionsProtecting whistleblowers from recrimination, ostracization, or any other negative consequences of speaking upAllowing employees to feel heard and valuedEnsuring your business or organization remains compliant with the relevant whistleblowing legislation in your regionFor example, if an employee feels that they are being bullied, harassed or otherwise mistreated by their line manager, but are afraid to speak up in case their career chances are affected as a result, they can choose to notify the authorized person within their company or organization anonymously and the matter can then be dealt with. Alternatively, if an employee notices an inefficiency in one of their work processes, but does not feel like they have the requisite authority to point it out, they can do so anonymously, potentially saving their company money and/or time. Implementing anonymous reporting in your organizationThere are several ways to implement an anonymous reporting channel in your organization. The most common forms this takes are: An online form: i.e through as whistleblowing platform such as FaceUp, or a designated reporting/feedback toolA hotline: often outsourced to a third party, which employees can call to report their concerns or suspicionsA suggestions/trust box: now a more old-fashioned approach, this is literally a physical box into which employees can drop notesWhen implementing an anonymous reporting tool, it is important to communicate it properly to your employees and offer training in using it. This fosters familiarity and comfort with the system and increases uptake and use. Case studies where anonymous reporting proved beneficialThe experience of company Vitkovice Steel, represents an interesting case study since they noticed that the implementation of an anonymous reporting channel actually led to the percentage of anonymous reports decreasing over time. To begin with, 70% of reports were under the cover of anonymity, eventually going down to 30%, bearing out the improvement in the workplace culture.  Another client, the Brno Municipal Office, found that the introduction of an anonymous whistleblowing platform led to the discovery of instances of bullying by a particular individual who was subsequently removed from the company. They then noticed an increase in productivity after this individual had left. Read about our clients experience with using the anonymous reporting system. ConclusionOverall, it is clear that introducing an anonymous reporting channel in your organization is hugely beneficial in ensuring that employers and anyone else who interacts with your company has the means to report suspicions of wrongdoing or offer up suggestions for improvement, without fear of retribution or embarrassment. Clearly, there are challenges in implementing such a channel, notably in raising awareness of its existence, helping people learn to use it, and ensuring that they continue to use it on a regular basis.  However, these challenges can and must be overcome in order to create a safe, secure, open workplace where employees feel valued and empowered to speak up. Are you seeking to enhance transparency and accountability within your organization?Discover how to effectively implement an anonymous reporting platform tailored to your company's needs. Contact our whistleblowing specialist today to arrange a complimentary demo, and explore the comprehensive features offered by FaceUp. 
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Corporate culture

Why a Whistleblowing Policy is Essential for Every Company

As the world places more and more emphasis on open and ethical business practices, having a clear whistleblowing policy in place has become critical. When they are developed and implemented properly, whistleblowing policies give employees a clear path to report problems, reduce or eliminate fallout from internal issues, and promote and protect a culture of transparency and accountability in the workplace.  Key features of a successful whistleblowing policyConfidentiality: When employees don’t feel protected, they stay silent. Your policy should ensure that employee reports are only shared with people who are in a position to address the issues raised. You should also, if possible, provide anonymous reporting options. Protection against retaliation: Employees need to know that if they come forward with a complaint, they will be protected from harassment or job loss. Your whistleblowing policy should explicitly state that internal retaliation will not be tolerated, and it should detail employees’ legal rights if they choose to report an issue.   Clear reporting procedures: Employees should know how to report their concerns, including who to contact, what information to provide, and the timeline for response and resolution.  Processes for resolution: Employees should know what to expect after they report an issue. Your policy should outline the process for investigating and resolving reports in a fair and impartial manner while respecting the rights of both the whistleblower and the accused. Implementing your whistleblowing policyImplementing a whistleblowing policy will look different for every company. Whatever the design of your policy, employees must have all the information they need to step forward. Educating employees can take various forms, including printed materials, emails, and training sessions. Make sure employees know how to make reports, what protections they are entitled to, and what counts as reportable conduct.   Creating and implementing a whistleblowing policy shouldn’t be seen as a one-off process. Change is inevitable in every company and your policy should follow suit. It should be regularly updated to evolve with your organization. Need a whistleblowing policy template to get started? If you need help creating a whistleblowing policy for your company, we encourage you to download our free template. The template outlines universal issues or concerns that should be reported and can be easily adapted for your company’s needs. Download the whistleblowing policy template here. Get in touch with our whistleblower specialist today to arrange a free demo and discuss your whistleblowing policy.
Corporate culture

Understanding Mobbing in the Workplace: Strategies for Prevention and Intervention

Mobbing is a form of workplace bullying where multiple employees gang up, literally forming a ‘mob’, to target a particular individual in order to isolate them from the group. Shallcross, Ramsay, and Barker define mobbing as “a deliberate attempt to force a person out of their workplace by humiliation, general harassment, emotional abuse, and terror”. Clearly, mobbing can lead to a host of negative consequences for the victim and the organizations where they work, including: Low employee job satisfactionReduced employee engagementPotential mental health problems for the victimConflict in the workplaceHigh levels of employees turnoverLower productivityPotential legal costs and loss of reputation How to recognise mobbingMobbing usually starts with two individuals, a ‘leader’ and a victim. The leader may be a charismatic, popular team member or manager who comes into conflict with the victim in some way, perhaps a disagreement on how to approach a task, or losing out on a promotion.  Victims can often be from a lower socio-economic background, or may be viewed as different in some way, for example their race or gender, or may simply be a high performer of whom others are jealous. The mob leader will commonly attempt to damage the victim’s reputation, start rumors or spread gossip and then discredit the victim’s complaints or gaslight them. This is designed to plant a seed in the minds of other employees who the leader will strive to get on their side. This then usually leads to a cycle of bullying and abuse from the mob towards the victim, including harassment, intimidation, even occasionally even physical harm. As the victim is left feeling isolated and ostracized, they often end up leaving the organization, or simply resigning themselves to the abuse, unable to speak out or report the abuse for fear of recrimination. How to combat mobbingFor those who suspect they are on the receiving end of mobbing, or feel like someone is acting towards them in a way which could potentially develop into bullying or mobbing, they can do a couple of key things.  The first is to establish boundaries with the bully, letting them know that certain behaviors are not acceptable, although this can be tough to do in practice.  The second thing the victim can do is to make a note of instances of mobbing, with the time, date, and names of any witnesses. This gives them something they can present to HR to back up their complaints. For organizations, there are a range of things they can do to prevent bullying and mobbing from becoming commonplace.  HR departments must have specific policies for addressing bullying and mobbing, not just simply policies that cover harassment.  Managers should look to foster an open, inclusive, and not overly competitive work environment to help prevent people from falling into mobbing or bullying out of fear for their own career chances. Finally, organizations can implement an anonymous reporting channel such as FaceUp, to give victims, and crucially any witnesses, a means to report mobbing without fear that the mob might turn on them. Such channels also contribute to promoting a culture of transparency and honest feedback. Get in touch with our whistleblower specialist today to arrange a free demo.
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Corporate culture

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

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 ReportingAnonymous 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 ReportingEncouraging 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 actions, doing 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.
experience of using FaceUp whistleblowing
Corporate culture

What is our clients’ experience of using FaceUp?

We love hearing from our clients about how the introduction of FaceUp has worked well and how it’s helping them improve their company culture. We are often asked how FaceUp works in practice, so we’ve asked some of our clients about their specific experiences. SPORTISIMOSport equipment retailer SPORTISIMO has more than 200 stores across 5 countries and employs over 4,000 people. The company’s management assumed that they wouldn't receive especially serious reports. After a year of using our platform, the reality is that their reports don’t reference fraud or serious problems, but instead contain suggestions or requests which have proven to be worth addressing: “For example, someone asked if we might be able to change the music that plays in our stores more frequently. Another employee asked why we don’t have a women’s version of a popular type of men’s size 42 shoes. At first glance, they may appear to be rather mundane issues which management don’t see due to their professional blindness, but addressing these things leads to a happier workforce,” explains Thomas Rodney. SPORTISIMO receives an average of 15 reports per month and many of them are ideas of how to improve things from employees who are too shy to speak up in person.  Brno-Centre Municipal OfficeThe introduction of FaceUp was also extremely important for the Brno-Centre Municipal Office. Their management were concerned that the option to send reports anonymously would result in slander. However, this didn’t materialise. Thanks to FaceUp, their management learnt of a case of long-term bullying in the workplace and were able to successfully resolve the issue. A slightly unexpected albeit useful dimension that FaceUp gave us was in the area of labour relations. We received several anonymous reports from employees about bullying. After an investigation, we terminated our working relationship with one of the heads of a large department of the Brno-Centre Municipal Office and in another case we placed several employees under different leadership. This then led to increased overall productivity in this office,” describes Peter Stika, secretary at the Brno-Centre Municipal Office.  ADvTechADvTECH is South Africa’s largest private education provider. All of ADvTECH’s 7 580 staff members, teachers, lecturers and students between Grades 4 and 12 at its 96 schools throughout South Africa has access to the app. "Using FaceUp, reports that have come through have been resolved far more efficiently than any other platform or method we have used in the past. Another advantage is that reporters can track what is happening with their report and the status of any investigations that are taking place. Our experience has been excellent, " says Vanessa Crawford, HR Manager at ADvTech. AKKAIndustrial company AKKA produces tools, systems and components for the automobile, railway and aviation industries. They decided to implement FaceUp to be able to communicate better with their employees and get feedback from them: “It was about connecting management with workers. 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 which gives us a point of discussion for the meetings.” Vitkovice Steel Vitkovice Steel is a steel company which operates out of the Vitkovice ironworks in Ostrava and employs 900 people. After introducing a whistleblowing platform, their employees started sending around 5-7 reports a month. The reports were mainly generic queries or people seeking reassurance. For example, employees checked if they had correctly understood management communications. FaceUp is helping to improve their company culture - just after they introduced the platform, 70% of people wrote reports anonymously, now that’s down to just 30%. Employees have understood that they really can ask anything and are no longer scared to write under their own name. What are companies generally facing? According to our clients, these are the issues most commonly shared by their employees through FaceUp in recent years: When war broke out in Ukraine, many employees started to worry for the future of the company and their own work position. When companies go through a restructuring (for example, after an acquisition), employees asked about new processes, flagged points of confusion, and expressed their concerns for the future. The Covid-19 pandemic brought with it a wide range of measures and regulations which companies had to communicate to their employees. Employees then asked about regulations details or checked if they had understood the information correctly. Do you need advice on how to effectively introduce a whistleblowing platform? 
whistleblowing HR Tomas Rodny
Corporate culture

Thanks to FaceUp, our employees send us 15 relevant suggestions each month, enthuses SPORTISIMO HR Director.

Sports equipment retailer SPORTISIMO has more than 200 stores in 5 countries and employs more than 4,000 people. In order for employees to be able to anonymously send in suggestions of how they might improve the way the company runs, they introduced the online tool FaceUp at the beginning of 2021. Company HR Director Thomas Rodney is delighted with that decision.  Extremely useful, albeit less serious, reportsFaceUp is an online platform created especially for the anonymous reporting of unfair or illegal conduct within companies (also known as ‘whistleblowing’). However, employees can also use the tool to make less serious suggestions to help improve the company, which happens very often in practice.  “SPORTISIMO is open to employee feedback, which is why we carry out a survey each month, asking staff about a predetermined issue. We introduced FaceUp as more of a complementary tool, a hotline through which people can anonymously raise a given matter. To be truthful, we only expected to receive a small number of reports, for example about serious breaches of internal regulations or even law breaking,” recalls Thomas Rodney. However the reality was quite the opposite. During a year of operation, SPORTISIMO employees submitted over 180 reports. That’s an average of 15 per month. The majority of these reports were in fact not about serious matters, but more everyday issues. But they were still extremely valuable.  “For example, one person suggested that we change the music in our stores more often. Another employee asked why we don’t have a women’s version of a popular men’s size 42 shoe. At first glance they might be dismissed as trivial, things which management is blind to, but it’s worth dealing with them as it leads to higher employee satisfaction,” continues Thomas Rodney. Initial fears of misuse of the tool quickly disappearedFaceUp is particularly praised for the simplicity of its implementation and use. “FaceUp has made our work a lot easier. The application interface and all materials are translated into five languages and they have even prepared marketing materials such as flyers. As a result, we’ve been able to introduce FaceUp into all our stores in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary,” added Rodney, who has worked for SPORTISIMO for five years. FaceUp is a simple online whistleblowing platform, which an employee can learn to use within a couple of minutes. Initial fears that FaceUp wouldn’t be used or that employees would abuse it by overwhelming it with nonsense reports proved to be unfounded. “It didn’t happen even once. The overwhelming majority of reports are really relevant, they quickly reach the appropriate person and in turn we resolve the matter. Through FaceUp you can communicate further with the person who sent the report, albeit anonymously, should you need further details or clarification. More straightforward issues we’re able to deal with in 24 hours, the more complex ones within a week or two. Most conversations end with the author of the report thanking us for dealing with the issue,” reveals Thomas Rodney. Thomas Rodney has no doubt that he would recommend FaceUp to other companies: "I absolutely recommend FaceUp to any company which, like us, has a number of branches over a large area, for instance over several countries. In such an environment it can be difficult to systematically collect feedback from employees, but thanks to this anonymous platform, it is possible,” he concludes. 

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