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.
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.
There 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:
Whistleblowing - just a bureaucracy or an opportunity for your company?