A whistleblowing system is a channel primarily used by employees or other stakeholders within a company or organization to report instances of wrongdoing or unethical conduct. Whistleblowing systems can also be used more broadly as a way for individuals to submit their feedback, suggestions, or ideas for improvements.
A whistleblowing system must provide a secure, reliable, and easy way to submit reports. When introducing a whistleblowing system, it is also important to consider that whistleblowers should have the option to submit reports in writing, orally, and in person.
In simple terms, whistleblowing systems are made up of the reporting stage and the investigation phase.
Whistleblowing platforms are equipped with features to make this process as easy and intuitive as possible.
The foundation of a whistleblowing 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.
The benefits of introducing a whistleblowing system in your organization are numerous and varied. They include:
Clearly, all organizations would benefit from implementing a whistleblowing system for the reasons mentioned in the previous section.
If you are in the EU and your organization has more than 50 employees, you are legally obliged to introduce a whistleblowing system. You can read more about the EU whistleblowing directive here.
In addition, if your organization adheres to any standards and certifications, such as ISO 37001 or IATF 16949 etc., a properly functioning whistleblowing system is part of remaining compliant.
One of the most important functions a whistleblowing system can have is that of anonymity. Allowing whistleblowers to submit reports anonymously is key to encouraging use of the system and in protecting whistleblowers from any potential retaliation or other negative impact on their professional life. Read more about the importance of anonymity for a whistleblowing system.
Usually, organizations are not inundated with reports, especially once the system has been up and running for a while. A good guide is that you can expect to receive in the region of 8 reports per 1000 employees each year.
Effective implementation of a whistleblowing platform is key to ensuring it is used.
This starts with communicating the very existence of the system via your usual internal communication channels and frequently reminding employees that it is there for them to use thereafter.
Your employees must be able to have access to all the information they need in order to speak out. This means educational materials i.e. prints materials, emails, training sessions and more. It’s crucial that employees know how to make reports, what protections they are entitled to, and what counts as reportable conduct.
A whistleblowing system isn’t a ‘one and done’ situation, it should evolve as your company changes and be updated regularly.
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
Need a whistleblowing policy template to get started? Download whistleblowing policy here.
At FaceUp, we love to hear real-world examples of whistleblowing systems being put into practice.
These use cases can be varied and surprising.
For example, sports equipment retailer SPORTISIMO discovered through FaceUp that they weren’t stocking women’s sizes for certain shoes and then remedied the situation.
The Brno-Centre Municipal Office used FaceUp’s whistleblowing system to unearth a long-standing case of bullying which, once resolved, led to an increase in productivity.
Industrial company Akka wanted to communicate more effectively with their employees and obtain feedback. Before implementing a whistleblowing system, none of their employees would raise anything for discussion in meetings. Now they use FaceUp to gather people’s thoughts and talk them through during meetings.
There are many different solutions and whistleblowing system providers on the market in 2024. Here are some of the best and links to their G2 profiles:
All of the alternatives listed above have their issues, most notably the lack of anonymity. In theory, steps can be taken to provide a level of anonymity for email and hotline reporting, although in practice this can be hard for organizations to execute. An ombudsman has their benefits in that they are an impartial party, but the whistleblower still has to reveal their identity to them at the very least.
One of the significant benefits of a FaceUp Whistleblowing System is that it can be used for much more than just whistleblowing.
FaceUp can be effectively utilized in the following four key areas:
FaceUp Whistleblowing System can also be used as:
And can be employed also in the following use cases:
The key element of a whistleblowing system is the designated person who receives and deals with the reports. 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, report assignee 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.
For a reasonably priced, feature-rich whistleblowing system with the highest level of security and usability, why not give FaceUp a try? Book a consultation with our whistleblower specialist today.
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