Fraud is a crime that can strike any company at any time. Whether it is a dissatisfied or opportunistic employee looking to make a quick fortune or a customer who decides that the company is a target for his/her malevolent schemes, it can end up costing a company millions of dollars. When implemented well, a whistleblower hotline can increase the rate of fraud prevention or stoppage by a huge margin as tip offs are by far the most significant way in which a company can identify wrongdoings within or outside of its ranks. This is why an effective whistleblower program (comprising of in person reporting, a hotline or a web-based form) should be an essential part of every business’ corporate compliance rhetoric. But the simple implementation of a whistleblower hotline isn’t sufficient, read on to find the characteristics of a great whistleblower program and visit whistleblowers hotline to find out more about this prevalent issue.
In most situations, employees perceive a high level of risk when reporting malevolent acts within the corporate entity, as they believe that their livelihood can be at stake. This could play a hugely negative role in encouraging employees to speak up, because they often fear the repercussions if the reporting of the illegal activity was somehow traced back to them. The colloquial for a whistleblower often comes in derogatory terms such as “Snitch” or “Rat”, which can play a large part in discouraging an employee from speaking up. An employees social standing within the company could also suffer greatly depending on his/her colleagues as whistleblowing can be interpreted as a form of betrayal (even though they are in fact doing the right thing) It is to prevent this that any company wishing to implement a whistleblower program emphasize its anonymity, and that there will be no way to trace the tip off back to the whistleblower. By repeating this in compliance rhetoric strongly and frequently, employees are more likely to speak up about any malfeasance in the workplace.
The possibility of retaliation is another strong discouraging factor concerning whistleblower hotlines. And companies must emphasize repeatedly and frequently that they are prevented by law against taking retaliatory action against whistleblowers, this will in turn create trust amongst employees and increase the likelihood of them speaking up. In addition, many countries offer additional protection to whistleblowers that must be emphasized as well. The development of trust is a vital component in establishing a whistleblower program, and companies are advised to treat each case with the utmost care as each case will often set the tone and precedent for the next.
Top Management’s Attitude
Setting the tone from the top down with regards to rigorous corporate compliance policies, as well as placing a high degree of importance on the whistleblower program is a vital step in setting the stage for the success or failure of the whistleblower hotline. And creating a culture where tipsters are rewarded in the company (this can come in the form of financial or non-financial rewards), where the process of reporting is widely spoken about and simplified, and where the reports are treated with care and acted upon with efficiency will not only heighten the standards of the company in the eyes of its employees but also help with minimizing the damage of potential fraud to the company.
The above is simply a few of the possible steps that can be taken to increase the efficiency of a whistleblower hotline however it is recommended that all companies review their existing program with the above steps in order to increase the success rate of their program.