Compliance Line

Setting Up an Effective Compliance Line: Best Practices and Tips

A compliance line, also known as a hotline or ethics line, is a whistleblowing tool whereby employees or other stakeholders within an organization can report suspicions of wrongdoing or simply offer suggestions for efficiencies and improvements. They can usually do this anonymously for situations where the complaint might involve a colleague, manager or where the individual just wants to protect themselves from any negative fallout. Why introduce a compliance line?Introducing a compliance line is a clear signal to your employees that you value their feedback and take their concerns seriously. It shows that you are an open and transparent organization where no-one is afraid to speak up in the face of unethical behavior. As mentioned above, the anonymous aspect of a compliance hotline is crucial, since it protects the employee and allows the company to hear about issues that might otherwise have gone undiscovered (read more about ‘the onlooker effect).  This has a range of benefits from saving companies money lost to internal fraud and the costs of a high workforce turnover, to increasing productivity due to happier, more invested colleagues. Having an anonymous whistleblower line in your organization is also a crucial stipulation of most whistleblower legislation across the world, certainly in the EU where it is obligatory for companies above 50 employees. How to effectively implement a compliance lineThere is no value in having a comprehensive hotline if nobody uses it. This is why implementing your hotline properly is so important to reaping the rewards. An effective implementation involves these three parts: A clearly defined communication plan to notify all employees of the tool’s existence, including regular reminders as time goes on.Training and guidance provided to ensure that everyone knows how to use the tool and which scenarios it should be used for.Assigning personnel to receive and deal with the reports submitted via the hotline. These people could be either internal or external to your organization. Are you looking for a compliance line?For a reasonably priced, feature-rich system with the highest level of security and usability, why not give FaceUp a try? Book a consultation with our specialist today.
8/15/20232 min read
online suggestion box

What is an online suggestion box?

An online suggestion box is the digital version of the physical box of the past in which company employees could drop slips of paper with suggestions for improvements. These days, organizations may choose to implement an online version which brings with it a range of additional benefits.  What are the advantages of an online suggestion box?First and foremost, implementing an online suggestion box demonstrates that you are an open and transparent employer that values feedback from your employees.  The subsequent boost to employee morale can lead to an increased workforce retention rate, saving your company money in the long term. Did you know it costs an average of 6 months’ salary to replace a member of your team? In receiving feedback through a suggestion box, you may discover ways to make your processes more efficient, a lucrative new product or service, or unearth some deep-rooted dissatisfaction amongst your workforce.  You might even unearth a case of internal theft or company fraud, something which costs the average company 5% of their annual revenue. In providing a channel for staff to voice their concerns, you are able to keep these issues inside your company and avoid unwanted and negative media attention. For employees, an online suggestion box means that they have a clear means of making their voice heard when they witness wrongdoing or suspect it. Since an online suggestion box should always be anonymous (like FaceUp), they will also be protected against any potential retaliation or damage to their future career prospects. This is also beneficial to the company itself since it increases the likelihood of their employees using the system. Finally, introducing a suggestion box ensures that your organization remains compliant with the whistleblowing legislation in your particular territory (such the EU Whistleblowing Directive) as well as any standards or certifications which you follow. Read more about standards and certifications in our recent post. What functions should online suggestion box have?User-friendliness: Setting up and navigating the system is effortless, providing an intuitive user experience.Customizability: The software should be adaptable to align with your company's identity and branding. You should have the ability to incorporate elements such as your logo and corporate colors into forms and surveys.Anonymity: Employees or customers should have the option to submit suggestions and feedback anonymously. Notifications: The tool should send reminders to employees, ensuring consistent participation and maximizing the feedback you receive.Data and analysis: It enables swift organization and analysis of suggestions and feedback, offering visual data and analytics to inform your business decisions effectively.Easy Integration: Online suggestion box should be easily integrated through API with your company intranet, website, or app.How can I ensure my team uses a suggestion box?You can read in more detail about how to successfully implement a whistleblowing system or suggestion box in another of our recent blog posts, but it comes down essentially three key pillars: A clear communication plan so that your employees know that the suggestion box exists and are encouraged to use it.Training provision so employees are comfortable using the system, know when to use it and can get the most out of all the features it offers.Assigning roles, i.e. deciding which members of your company will be responsible for receiving suggestions and taking appropriate action.Which suggestion box should I choose?Which suggestion box should I choose?There are a host of online suggestion box solutions online. Here at FaceUp, we believe that our whistleblowing platform serves perfectly as a suggestion box, thanks to features such as anonymous reporting, follow-up two-way communication, voice messaging, intuitive user design, and high level of data security.  FaceUp is GDPR compliant, ISO 27001 certified and offers E2E encryption and 2FA. FaceUp can easily be integrated with your company intranet, website, or app through API. If you would like to give FaceUp a try, you can do so with a free 14-day trial.  Are you looking for the suggestion box?For a reasonably priced, feature-rich system with the highest level of security and usability, why not give FaceUp a try? Book a consultation with our specialist today.
8/3/20233 min read

"Through whistleblowing, an organization can uncover serious fraud," says Rohia Hakim, Compliance Officer at CTP Invest

How does corporate culture influence the success of companies? What does compliance entail, and what role does whistleblowing play in it? These questions were answered by Rohia Hakim, who worked as a Compliance Specialist for Ernst & Young (EY) for almost 10 years and now serves as a Compliance Officer for CTP Invest. Your experience in compliance is extensive, for nearly 10 years you worked as a Compliance Specialist for Ernst & Young (EY), and now you work as a  Compliance Officer for CTP Invest. What drew towards this kind of work?Compliance probably found me, rather than the other way around. At the time I was working for a multinational company. After several acquisitions and mergers, it became necessary to improve the company culture. So a huge HR program was implemented to change the company culture, for which I was the main face. Thanks to its successful implementation, I was ‘discovered’ by Ernst & Young and in 2011 accepted a job offer with them. That’s how I gained experience in compliance across various sectors and organizations, both in the private and public sphere. Compliance is definitely a fulfilling job and, in some ways, a calling. Many people still don’t exactly know what ‘compliance’ means. How would you briefly describe ‘compliance’?In my view, compliance is a lot more than simply adhering to laws and rules. Compliance is about obeying legal requirements, regulatory requirements, internal regulations, ethical standards, and ‘going the extra mile’. Especially from an ethics point of view, co-existing with the company’s surroundings and the like. I’m of the view that the law cannot cover all of life’s situations. Ethics improves an organization’s performance, reduces transaction costs, and strengthens employee loyalty. I believe that everyone would like to work in an ethical organization. In addition, it is clear that public pressure is increasing for corporate social responsibility. How does compliance help managers and companies? Does a company’s culture and ethics impact its success?Today it is absolutely clear that conducting their business ethically is critical for companies. Perhaps not globally, but definitely in developed countries. For example, I definitely see this sensibility among the younger generation, who prefer companies with higher ethical standards – whether they are a customer or potential employees, they are not willing to compromise or make concessions. What is the role of whistleblowing in compliance? Various analyses have long shown that whistleblowing is clearly the most common way companies uncover fraud. And it makes sense. Typically, it is employees that uncover fraud, since employees can catch or witness unusual behavior.  What is your experience with whistleblowing? Do you have any examples?I have many years of experience with whistleblowing. I have seen how companies can uncover instances of serious fraud through whistleblowing. It often reveals the possible manipulation of public contracts or details of corruption. Specifically, we could look at the case of whistleblowing in the tobacco industry, which was beneficial for the public at large. In that case, an internal whistleblower revealed that cigarettes (which, up until that point, were hugely promoted and consumed en masse) were harmful to our health and highly addictive. Something which cigarette producers until then vehemently denied. What are the biggest challenges in your job?The challenge is definitely that you have to constantly make yourself known to colleagues. So that compliance becomes an integral part of their daily lives. A positive part. I want to be a partner, not a threat or punitive agent. To be supportive rather than an obstacle to business. And also the fact that compliance is constantly changing. I don’t just mean legislation and requirements, but also the overlap of the two. A modern compliance officer also needs to know their way around data protection, ESG, and cyber security (IT). These are complex areas and require further professional development. And lastly communication. Communication is key, as with everything.
7/26/20233 min read
Ethics hotline whistleblowing

What is an ethics hotline?

An ethics hotline is a way for employees or other company stakeholders to report instances of wrongdoing or offer suggestions for improvements. An ethics hotline used to simply refer to a physical phone line that was used for whistleblowing, whereas now the meaning has expanded to include whistleblowing software more generally. You may also hear an ethics hotline referred to as a whistleblowing system, speak-up line, fraud line plus a number of other names. How does an ethics hotline work?When a whistleblower wishes to alert a company’s management of their suspicions, they can do so through an ethics hotline. Traditionally, this would mean calling an ethics hotline on a physical phone, or leaving a note in a trust box. However, these days the most common method is to use an online whistleblowing system, which has the added bonus of anonymity for the whistleblower, plus a range of other helpful features. The report is received by the individual in the company who is designated to deal with them (known as the ‘assignee’) and the matter is subsequently looked into. Some whistleblowing systems, such as FaceUp, then allow for follow up communication between whistleblower and assignee. Who counts as a whistleblower?A whistleblower is anyone who works in or for an organization with suspicions that some kind of misconduct of wrongdoing is taking place. Wrongdoing can range from bullying and harassment, through to fraud and theft.  Whistleblowers are most commonly company employees, but can also be suppliers, contractors, freelancers, or anyone else who interacts with an organization. What are the benefits of an ethics line?A properly implemented ethics line will: help foster a culture of openness and transparencyprotect the whistleblower from retaliationreduce money lost to fraud or employee turnoverprotect your reputation by keeping matters internalimprove productivity by removing unprofessional employeesunearth areas for improvementensure your organization remains compliant with the relevant whistleblowing legislation in your regionWhich ethics hotline should I choose?There are a whole host of different ethics lines on the market today. Here at FaceUp, we put together a list of some of the leading contenders in a recent post.  Are you looking for en ethics hotline?For a reasonably priced, feature-rich ethics line with the highest level of security and usability, why not give FaceUp a try? Book a consultation with our whistleblower specialist today.
7/19/20232 min read

‘I recommend FaceUp to other companies whenever whistleblowing comes up’, says Rohia Hakim from CTP Invest

CTP Invest is the largest owner, developer and manager of logistics and industrial property in Europe. In 25 years they have become the largest publicly traded I&L developer in Europe and currently has around 900 employees and external workers. CTP Invest introduced a whistleblowing system in 2022 for several reasons. Besides getting themselves prepared for the new whistleblower protection law, the company’s leadership wanted to increase their credibility, accessibility, and also to provide the option for anonymous reporting. Compliance Officer Rohia Hakim, who has more than 10 years of experience in the compliance field, was in charge of the implementation of the whistleblowing system. Mrs. Hakim describes what was important in implementing the whistleblowing system: I consider the choice of whistleblowing tool to be key. Unfortunately, many contradictions still persist, such as a trust box next to the manager’s door, sitting under a CCTV camera. And as always, clear communication is important. Employees must be assured that their reports will be properly investigated and that they won’t face any kind of backlash if their report was made in good faith.  Why did you choose FaceUp?For me, an important factor was security and clear report management. FaceUp is also available in all the languages and jurisdictions in which we operate. Another plus was their compliance with ISO standards and GDPR requirements. I like the simplicity, accessibility and affordability of the platform. Moreover, I was intrigued by the story behind FaceUp’s founding and the fact that by using their platform, we are contributing towards a good thing – combating bullying in schools. FaceUp has absolutely fulfilled my expectations.” Mrs. Hakim explains that when introducing a whistleblowing platform in her organization, she had to start by explaining exactly what one was and what its benefits were: “It’s important right at the beginning to create a positive view of the tool’s effectiveness in tackling fraud and corruption. Any negativity, e.g. from management, can completely derail your efforts to set up effective whistleblowing. It’s also important to choose the right assignee, someone with experience in the area, but who most importantly has the confidence of employees.” CTP Invest first notified their employees about FaceUp via email, then through the company intranet and compliance training. They also included information about whistleblowing on their website, in their code of ethics and in other guidelines and company documents. So how did the employees react to its implementation? Our employees reacted positively to the FaceUp whistleblowing system. Almost immediately we received several suggestions on how to improve our working environment through the application. In total, we have received 45 reports through FaceUp since its introduction, compared to 0 before. Every report was relevant. The benefits are clear. Employees have been given a signal that we take their reports seriously, which is why we have enabled an external solution to give whistleblowers the chance to send reports securely and truly anonymously.  CTP Invest have largely received suggestions to improve their company culture through FaceUp, or matters concerning their working environment - more specifically, conflict in the workplace. “I recommend FaceUp to other companies whenever whistleblowing comes up,” concludes Rohia Hakim.
7/10/20233 min read

Whistleblower Hotline: How to Implement an Effective and Confidential Reporting System

A whistleblower hotline, sometimes known as an ‘ethics line’ or a ‘whistleblowing platform’ more generally, is a way for your employees to anonymously speak up when they witness misconduct, workplace bullying, fraud, or simply wish to offer suggestions and ideas for improvements. These days, a whistleblower hotline is usually a standalone online tool, or is part of a HR programme through which individuals can submit reports, usually anonymously. In the past, whistleblower hotlines were often actual telephone lines that employees could call to express their concerns, or a physical trust box where slips of paper with the report details could be deposited.  Why introduce a whistleblowing hotline?Introducing a whistleblowing hotline has a multitude of benefits.  Primarily, they are a sign to your employees that you are an open and transparent company which values feedback and takes concerns of misconduct seriously. Moreover, providing your employees an anonymous channel to share their concerns demonstrates that they will not be on the receiving end of any recrimination or abuse for doing so. This in turn can mean that they stay with you for longer, thus saving your company on the recruitment and onboarding costs associated with high employee turnover Financial gains can also be felt in other ways, such as the prevention of internal fraud and other loss prevention due to whistleblowing, as well as the increases in productivity brought about by a happier, more engaged workforce. Effective implementationOf course, choosing the right whistleblowing hotline is only the first step. Effective implementation is key to ensuring that the system is used and valued by everyone in your organization. It is important to devise a communication plan for the introduction of the whistleblowing system, utilizing internal channels such as email and intranet to make sure all stakeholders are aware that the system is available for use.  It is also key to offer some kind of training and guidance materials so that your employees know how to get the best out of the system that you have chosen and that it is truly serving the purpose for which it was brought in. FaceUp provides its clients with examples of communication templates and guidance materials so make all this run as smoothly as possible. Finally it’s important to decide who will be responsible for receiving and resolving reports, whether that’s within your company, perhaps in the HR department, or an external specialist. Why choose FaceUp whistleblowing hotline?FaceUp represents a perfect choice for any organization, big or small, looking to introduce a whistleblowing hotline. FaceUp whistleblowing system is rich in features such as anonymity, attachments, customizable forms, follow up communication, the ability to set deadlines and allocate assignees to reports, plus much more. FaceUp also ensures that you meet all the requirements of the EU Whistleblowing Directive and other whistleblowing laws around the work, plus it helps you adhere to the stipulations of any certifications and standards you employ in your operation.  Are you looking for the whistleblowing hotline?For a reasonably priced, feature-rich ethics line with the highest level of security and usability, why not give FaceUp a try? Book a consultation with our whistleblower specialist today.
6/9/20233 min read
what is whistleblowing system for companies

What is a whistleblowing system?

A whistleblowing system is a comprehensive mechanism that includes allowing employees to submit reports, the receiving and processing of reports, and resolving the problems reported.  It must be user-friendly and beneficial to both the company and the whistleblowers. Let's take a look at the key elements of a whistleblowing system. Reporting channelsA whistleblowing system must provide a secure, reliable, and easy way to submit reports. When introducing an internal reporting system, it is also important to consider that whistleblowers should have the option to submit reports in writing, orally, and in person.  Companies can choose from multiple reporting channels and combine them differently, such as whistleblowing software, phone lines, email boxes, physical mailboxes (i.e. a trust box), and personal meetings with the person designated  to receive reports.  The foundation of an internal reporting system usually consists of specialized whistleblowing software like FaceUp, which has the advantage of being available anytime and anywhere, ensuring the safety of reporters, allowing ongoing communication after the report has been submitted, and offering easy and clear report management, including those received from other sources. They can also be easily linked to the company's compliance system. More about the benefits of whistleblowing systems can be found here.  Report assigneeThe second key element of a whistleblowing system is the designated person who receives and deals with the reports (i.e. relevant person). They are the only person who is in (direct) contact with the whistleblower and who is allowed to familiarize themselves with the contents of the report.  If requested by the whistleblower, the relevant person must be able to receive the report face to face. In addition to evaluating the validity of the report, the assignee proposes solutions to the problem and is responsible for informing the whistleblower about the report's acceptance and outcomes.  Therefore, it is important to choose the right person. They should be knowledgeable about their rights and responsibilities, understand the legal requirements of whistleblowing, and have received proper training and education.  Employees from compliance and HR departments are usually appointed to this position, along with or corporate lawyers. If no suitable person is found within the organization, an external person can also be appointed. Moreover, it is possible, advisable even, to have multiple assignees and allocate them different areas of concern. Internal policiesThe final, but no less important, part of a whistleblowing system is properly informing employees and all interested parties of its implementation. The best way to do this is by adopting an internal whistleblowing policy that should:• explain the importance of whistleblowing • define the basic terms • specify possible reporting methods • explain who is covered by whistleblower protections • describe the process for handling reports • provide the name and contact information of the appropriate person As a minimum, it is essential to publish the ways employees can submit reports and the contact details (telephone number and email) for the assignee.Download our free template of whistleblowing policy. What are the advantages of a whistleblowing system?Implementing a whistleblowing system is not an easy task, but besides fulfilling legal obligations, it has many other benefits and is a worthwhile undertaking for companies. Here are some of the main advantages: • Prevention of legal disputes A whistleblowing system enables problems to be reported in a timely manner and resolved internally, avoiding situations that might otherwise lead to legal disputes. • Improvement of company culture When employees can safely report unethical or illegal practices in an organization, it can lead to a culture of openness and trust. • Protection of the company’s reputation A whistleblowing system protects the reputation of the company by enabling problems to be addressed before they become public and damage the company's reputation. • Increased productivity A whistleblowing system allows employees to report problems that might otherwise be ignored or left unresolved, thus eliminating obstacles that hinder the productivity and effectiveness of the organization. • Increased customer trust By implementing a whistleblowing system, a company demonstrates that it takes its ethical commitments seriously, which can have a positive impact on business relationships. Depending on the size and type of organization, the costs of implementing a whistleblowing system can be surprisingly low and in any case, can be considered a significant investment in the future prosperity of the company. Check out our pricing list of whistleblowing system and see how much you can save. Are you looking for the whistleblowing system?For a reasonably priced, feature-rich whistleblowing system with the highest level of security and usability, why not give FaceUp a try? Book a consultation with our whistleblower specialist today.
5/26/20234 min read
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 within your organization?Discover how to effectively implement an anonymous reporting platform tailored to your company's needs. Book a consultation with our whistleblower specialist today.
5/25/20233 min read

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