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.
A 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.
The 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.
The 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.
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.
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