As the world places more and more emphasis on open and ethical business practices, having a clear whistleblowing policy in place has become critical. When they are developed and implemented properly, whistleblowing policies give employees a clear path to report problems, reduce or eliminate fallout from internal issues, and promote and protect a culture of transparency and accountability in the workplace.
Confidentiality: When employees don’t feel protected, they stay silent. Your policy should ensure that employee reports are only shared with people who are in a position to address the issues raised. You should also, if possible, provide anonymous reporting options.
Protection against retaliation: Employees need to know that if they come forward with a complaint, they will be protected from harassment or job loss. Your whistleblowing policy should explicitly state that internal retaliation will not be tolerated, and it should detail employees’ legal rights if they choose to report an issue.
Clear reporting procedures: Employees should know how to report their concerns, including who to contact, what information to provide, and the timeline for response and resolution.
Processes for resolution: Employees should know what to expect after they report an issue. Your policy should outline the process for investigating and resolving reports in a fair and impartial manner while respecting the rights of both the whistleblower and the accused.
Implementing a whistleblowing policy will look different for every company. Whatever the design of your policy, employees must have all the information they need to step forward. Educating employees can take various forms, including printed materials, emails, and training sessions. Make sure employees know how to make reports, what protections they are entitled to, and what counts as reportable conduct.
Creating and implementing a whistleblowing policy shouldn’t be seen as a one-off process. Change is inevitable in every company and your policy should follow suit. It should be regularly updated to evolve with your organization.
If you need help creating a whistleblowing policy for your company, we encourage you to download our free template. The template outlines universal issues or concerns that should be reported and can be easily adapted for your company’s needs.
Download the whistleblowing policy template here.
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