Whistleblowing articles and news

Culture in US Companies
  • Corporate culture

Overcoming Major Challenges to Embracing Speak-Up Culture in US Companies

In the bustling world of corporate America, establishing a speak-up culture is paramount to nurturing an open and transparent workplace where employee engagement thrives. Yet, there are obstacles in this ethical pathway, from the hostile work environment to the whispers of retaliation in the workplace, to name a few.  Initiating training programs or implementing software to promote openness in the workplace may initially seem like a “nice-to-have” rather than a necessity, but you may be surprised at how much are American companies already spending. Well, for starters, $101.8 billion on training in 2023, with $10.1 billion spent on external training products and services specifically. So, let us take you on a journey through these challenges and offer a few solutions that offer a cost-effective beacon of hope in embracing a transparent, ethical, and vibrant workplace.  The Fear of RetaliationThe specter of retaliation looms large in many a corporate narrative, silencing the voices that would otherwise be eager to report employee misconduct or harassment at work. This fear can originate from even the smallest of toxic seeds - such as “friendly” bullying in the office, or worse, employee discrimination and mobbing workplace scenarios.  As highlighted in the Harvard Business Review article Does Your Company Have a Culture of Quiet Retaliation? even subtle retaliations like withholding resources or excluding individuals from meetings significantly harm team dynamics and individual self-worth, emphasizing the need for a culture shift. Instead, transform fear into courage by establishing robust policies to help forge a transparent workplace where non-retaliation policies are not just words, but pillars of trust. Use existing tools to help promote anonymous reporting through the use of whistleblowing software or hotlines. This ensures that every employee, irrespective of rank or file, can voice concerns without fear. Lack of Awareness and Understanding Within the intricate shuffle of corporate life, ignorance, even blissful, of what constitutes workplace misconduct or harassment shadows the truth. A solid speak-up culture is built on the foundation of widespread awareness and attentive understanding of workplace ethics.  To start shedding light on the shadows try including ethics training in your employee onboarding. For existing employees, it would also be wise to offer regular, dynamic training sessions that can illuminate the nuanced boundaries of workplace harassment and discrimination in the workplace.Clear communication is key, at all levels of an organization. Gallup's research has also shown that companies with engaged workforces enjoy higher earnings per share. By bringing regular activity and company news to internal communication platforms, employee engagement increases - especially with information and updates that are quick, relevant, and at times even funny - all of which help foster a culture of openness and community. Inadequate Feedback Mechanisms Listen to this... That’s the sound of an employee's voice echoing into the void of an unresponsive corporate structure. Subtle, but we’ve all heard that before. Without effective workplace feedback systems, such as an anonymous suggestion box with two-way dialogue or employee feedback software, the seeds of discontent can sprout if unchecked. By setting up diverse feedback channels and conducting timely employee satisfaction surveys employers can bridge the gap between management, staff, and important stakeholders. Leaders are encouraged to delve into employee survey results, as patterns and oversights can be accurately addressed by engaging with the insights provided by workplace satisfaction questionnaires and employee pulse surveys. According to a recent research summary from Zippia, a vast majority (89%) of HR experts agree that the most effective strategy for boosting employee engagement is to offer continual feedback and set transparent expectations for employees.  Hostile Work Environment An abrupt storm of discontent can send any work environment off course, with employee harassment, bullying, and mobbing running rampant, and what was once a healthy workplace culture is left abandoned. Such an environment poisons the well of employee relations, turning potential havens of productivity into islands of despair. Steady the ship by crafting a culture of respect and freedom of expression with a firm but fair zero-tolerance policy with strict guidelines against employee bullying, mobbing, and harassment. Relying on battle-tested captains for regular training on ethical workplace practices, employee relations management, and wellbeing may be the best way to weather the storm. Luckily, inclusive training programs are on the rise. According to Aon's 2022-2023 Global Wellbeing Survey, approximately 87% percent of US organizations have an established wellbeing initiative, with 83% percent having a specific wellbeing strategy. Lack of Leadership Commitment In addition to the aforementioned challenges the missing keystone often needs to be found in the hands of those blazing the path forward. The quest for a thriving speak-up culture is often hamstrung by a lack of genuine commitment from the top. Leadership must do more than pay lip service to workplace transparency; they must embody the principles of social responsibility and ethical behavior. In the article, 4 ways to foster an ethical workplace, according to global leaders, Elia Yi Armstrong, the director of the United Nations Ethics Office, emphasizes that it is crucial for leaders to continually refresh and update their organization's ethical standards through engaging and progressive training sessions.  Leading by example requires steps like showing visible support for using internal reporting tools and voicing their unequivocal backing for ethical practices and open communication. Offering all employees opportunities to participate in ethics and compliance training, alongside top-level management, brings visible action and sends a powerful message of support and commitment to the health of the workforce. Strategies for SuccessThe journey toward a robust speak-up culture is complex but navigable. By addressing the quintessential challenges with a blend of empathy, strategy, and commitment, companies can foster an environment where workplace engagement flourishes, and employee relations are strengthened: Promote Anonymous Reporting: Tools like anonymous reporting software and whistleblowing hotlines empower individuals to speak without fear. Conduct Regular Training: Enhanced awareness through comprehensive training on workplace ethics and employee rights fortifies the foundation of a transparent corporate culture. Foster Open Communication: Encourage the use of internal communication platforms and employee feedback solutions to ensure every voice is heard and valued. Lead by Example: Leadership's active engagement in promoting and practicing ethical behavior can ignite a company-wide shift towards transparency and integrity. Monitor and Evaluate: Utilizing employee feedback software, workplace engagement surveys, and incident reporting software to continually assess and refine the company's approach to fostering a speak-up culture. Embracing Speak-up CultureIn conclusion, the creation of a speak-up culture is akin to nurturing a garden; it requires patience, care, and the right conditions to flourish. By addressing the challenges of fear, ignorance, silence, hostility, and leadership inertia, we pave the way for a future where workplace transparency is not just an ideal, but a reality.  In this garden, every voice, whether big or small, contributes to driving us toward a future marked by ethical integrity, mutual respect, and collective success. Together, let's embrace the power of speaking up, transforming our workplaces into strongholds of openness and ethical accountability.Let’s face it, the challenges of this journey are constantly changing with each rising and setting of the sun. But every journey starts with the first step - so why not start by getting in touch with FaceUp today - we’re ready to join you on this adventure!
6 min read
The Whistleblower Protection Act
  • Legal

Whistleblowing in the USA: A Guide to Legal Protections and Best Practices

Whistleblowing is the process where an employee or any other individual in an organization reports an instance of wrongdoing or criminality. In the past, this was done through offline means such as a phone line, trust box, or in person, whereas these days, whistleblowing reports are often submitted through a piece of whistleblowing software, such as FaceUp. Whistleblowing platforms have many other uses for businesses, such as case management, surveys, questionnaires, employee feedback and so on. How does whistleblowing protection work in the USA?In the EU, whistleblowing protection is relatively universal thanks to the EU Whistleblowing Directive (2019), whilst whistleblowing protection in the USA is patchier and is dependent on the sector in which you work and what it is you wish to report. The Whistleblower Protection Act The Whistleblower Protection Act (1989) is the broadest piece of legislation introduced in the US, but it does not provide protection for all whistleblowers, far from it. The Whistleblower Protection Act only protects federal employees, although private sector workers may be protected under topic-specific federal laws, like the Occupational Safety and Health Act, but only a small section of unlawful activity is covered by such laws. Private sector workers do not enjoy any kind of whistleblowing protection if they are reporting violations of federal laws with no whistleblower protection or state law. However, there may be some protection for them under local laws. Moreover, in the US, union officials are exempted from whistleblower laws. What is the best practice in terms of whistleblowing in the US?Whislteblowers.org lists the four following steps as best practice for whistleblowing law in the US, which companies could introduce independently if they so wish. They are: Confidentiality - A common thread throughout whistleblowing protection legislation, anonymity/confidentiality has the twin benefit of protecting whistleblowers from retaliation and encouraging them to speak up in the first place.Offering a reward - In many cases, whistleblowers provide information which allows prosecutors to recuperate money. It is advised that whistleblowers are offering a portion of this money as a reward for their courage and to encourage others to follow suit. Remediation in cases of retaliation - These are measures to mitigate the damages a whistleblower may face after speaking out. They include back pay, being reinstated in their job if unfairly fired, front pay (when finding a new job), out of pocket losses, and so on.Independent reporting channels - Allows whistleblowers to submit reports to a neutral third-party.Even though the legal provision for whistleblowing is less universal in the USA than in other parts of the world, implementing a whistleblowing system is still hugely advantageous for private companies. Some of the benefits for US companies to implement a whistleblowing platform include: Prevention of legal disputesImprovement of company cultureProtection of the company’s reputationIncreased productivityIncreased customer trustMay be an investor requirementWhat is protected disclosure?Where whistleblower protections do exist, a protected disclosure is anything that a whistleblower reports that they reasonably believe is evidence of a violation of any law, regulation, or rule, or represents gross mismanagement or waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. What is the best whistleblowing solution for US companies?Choosing a suitable whistleblowing platform for your organization is not always an easy task. As a general rule of thumb, good platforms include the following key features (not an exhaustive list): Reporting formsAnonymityUser-friendly UX/UIHigh security (E2EE, 2FA, penetration testing)CustomizationTwo-way communicationFor a reasonably priced, feature-rich system with the highest level of security and usability, why not give FaceUp reporting tool a try? Book a consultation with our specialist today. 
3 min read
FaceUp whistleblowing system

    FaceUp Takes Home Compliance Management Software Accolade From Leading B2B Platform

    FaceUp whistleblowing system recently received an esteemed industry award from a leading B2B review platform, proving the brand’s top-of-the-line and superior performance as a compliance management software.  FinancesOnline, one of the most respected software review platforms today, presented FaceUp whistleblowing system with a Rising Star Award, recognizing our brand’s rising user base and fast-growing popularity. The award is given to considerably new software products that have gained market validation over a brief period.  Among other parameters, FinancesOnline examined the substantial volume of positive comments and social mentions on our platform as a mark of user satisfaction. The FinancesOnline software reviewers also authored a comprehensive FaceUp review and concluded that it exhibits robust features to help business leaders succeed. They also evaluated our support agents and found our staff knowledgeable and responsive.   The software reviewers acknowledged our product’s usability and comprehensiveness in their assessment. Among the FaceUp features they highlighted are its intuitive interface, report form, and management.  Their report mentioned how the software’s intuitive interface allows companies to set up their account structure according to their sections or departments and add members. In addition, it lets users add their members to specific reporting categories. The reviewers also noted how the platform enables organizations to generate a unique access code that employees or students can sign into. If you’re facing a more sensitive case, such as psychological or corruption issues, you can delegate those to external specialists. However, they can only access information related to the concern.  Besides these functions, the expert reviewers lauded the report form feature, which offers an anonymous option. It guarantees anonymity for students or employees who want to report a problem and lets them reveal their identity if they want to. In addition, anyone who wishes to bring up an issue can send their reports through forms or voice messages with attachments. Furthermore, they don’t have to worry since the platform conforms with the whistleblower protection laws and the General Data Protection Regulation. In addition, the report management feature enables two-way communication with the individual reporting a concern. This will let the person handling the case verify with the whistleblower any further details they need. In case they receive manual documents, they can add them to the tool and record all reports.  A recent study forecasts the global compliance management software market to reach $74.8 billion by the year 2028. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 10.9% from the year 2021. With the demand for the solution increasing, it’s no surprise that FaceUp, with its cutting-edge capabilities, is becoming one of the most reliable compliance management software.  All these features are what review platforms seek in their list of top compliance management software today. FaceUp would like to thank FinancesOnline for acknowledging our dedicated efforts. Receiving recognition from reputable organizations such as this one drives us to do even better at delivering premium compliance management solutions.  We also would like to thank the devoted teams who have trusted us with their compliance management needs. Rest assured that we will keep on delivering trustworthy services and develop more features in the future so you can enhance your total experience and fulfillment with our platform. We look forward to more decades of collaboration with you and supporting you to maximize your team management efforts.
    3 min read
    Whistleblowing Examples
    • Whistleblowing

    Four Whistleblowing Examples: What Happens When People Speak Up?

    In the US alone there has been a massive spike in whistleblowing. The pandemic gave employees distance from their coworkers and company culture. This distance helped many people to recognize organizational problems and choose to take action.  Simultaneously, as organizations continue to embrace transparency, whistleblowing and anonymous reports have become tools for creating environments where communication is encouraged and employees feel protected enough to raise concerns. The following examples show how whistleblowing can foster a more open work environment and end corruption within an organization.    Whistleblowing Example One: Making Inclusion EasierDespite their best intentions, managers can have blind spots when it comes to employees' needs. The sports equipment retailer SPORTISIMO implemented a whistleblowing system and started to receive reports about small workplace issues. For example, the store didn’t stock certain shoes for women. These easily implemented changes go a long way toward creating a happier, more productive workforce. Whistleblowing Example Two: Revealing Harmful BehaviorIn 2021, Internal documents from Facebook (now Meta) were leaked to The Wall Street Journal, lawmakers and regulators. The documents revealed that Meta had been aware of the harmful effects its platforms were having on teenagers. (One study found that roughly 13% of teenagers in the UK linked Instagram to suicidal thoughts.)  Despite this, the company had done little to address these issues. When Frances Haugen came forward to testify on this negligence, it caused Meta to pause the production of ‘Instagram for kids’ and adjust its practices. If Meta hadn’t ignored its own internal reports and addressed the negative effects of their platforms, this leak wouldn’t have been necessary. Whistleblowing Example Three: Protecting Against AbuseA government office implemented a whistleblowing system and started to receive reports of abuse and bullying coming from one department. After an investigation, the office let the head of that department go.    Whistleblowing Example Four: Creating Open CommunicationSometimes whistleblowing and anonymous reports aren’t about wrongdoing but about fear of failure. For one organization that implemented an anonymous whistleblowing channel, most of the reports didn’t concern wrongdoing or abuse. Instead, they were from employees who needed clarification and guidance and were afraid to speak up. After the company started addressing these issues, more and more employees felt safe coming forward and asking for help. Final thoughtsWhistleblowing is one of the most effective ways to fight corruption within an organization and one of the fastest ways to address internal issues. Governments across the globe are increasing the protections offered to whistleblowers, encouraging this trend. Do you need advice on how to effectively introduce a whistleblowing platform?  Resource:  https://www.businessinsider.com/remote-work-surge-employees-whistleblowing-complaints-companies-fraud-2022-12
    2 min read

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