As explored in the previous chapter, if companies use standard whistleblowing systems, they will need to implement multiple ones to minimise the risk of losing reports. An alternative presents itself in an online trust box — an anonymous cloud-based platform that solves issues that plague other tools.
Trust boxes have numerous advantages compared to other solutions. First and foremost, reporting can be completely anonymous. However, unlike emails or Google forms, this anonymity does not come at the expense of the whistleblower. Instead, employees make a report via the tool, and it is sent to their organisation. This is often achieved through using an access code or link unique to the company. There is no need to create an anonymous email address or find a private space to make a phone call to the hotline. Since there is a mobile app available as well, the report can be made from anywhere at any time. And if an employee chooses not to report anonymously, all they need to do is provide their name in the report; the decision is completely up to them. Reporting is not just anonymous but also simple, making it suitable even for less tech-savvy employees. While submitting reports, employees can attach files, thus providing evidence.
Unlike many of the previously mentioned anonymous systems, online trust boxes are not just one-way communication. Once a report is submitted, the whistleblower can come back to it and check the progress. Also, the person processing the report can contact them back and ask for further information when needed, all while maintaining anonymity.
Trust boxes prevent data manipulation. Email can be easily deleted or hacked, complaints left in a box easily discarded, and the hotline personnel’s notes may end up not reflecting the situation correctly. None of this can happen with online trust boxes. There is an activity log that helps track everything that happens to each ticket. Also, once a report is submitted, it will be saved in the database where it will be archived for a minimum of 10 years. This not only prevents data manipulation, but it also saves proof if needed for future legal proceedings. There is also the possibility of setting up different notifications, so resolution specialists will never miss a ticket.
It is also possible to assign a different team or a person to resolve the report. If needed, it is possible to consult an expert via the internal comment function. When needed, reports can be limited only to a targeted audience.
Online trust boxes also allow inputting reports submitted via other sources, for example, from managers or via an email. Once all the data is reported, it enables a running analysis that can help companies understand whistleblowing trends and react in time.
Besides these advantages, online trust boxes also meet legal whistleblowing requirements — the EU is introducing a directive on whistleblowing, which needs to be implemented by the member states by December 17, 2021. More countries across the globe, such as the US, the UK, China, India, South Korea, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, have whistleblowing policies as well. Even if the whistleblowing law is not implemented in your country yet, having a system is often a requirement from investors.
Online trust boxes are a one-stop whistleblowing solution for companies. They address the disadvantages of other commonly used systems, and much more. In the next chapter, we will analyse how to introduce it within an organisation.
Whistleblowing - just a bureaucracy or an opportunity for your company?