Key Benefits of an Ethics Hotline

By Rod Lacey, MySilentWhistle / Sunstone HR

Are you considering implementing a whistleblower hotline?

Believe it or not, a whistleblower hotline is actually quite an easy and economical tool to incorporate into your corporate governance. Fraud, waste and abuse can all be detected early by incorporating a system for reporting ethical shortcomings. Additionally, if employees are able to report on wrongdoing anonymously, the organization will learn of the challenges earlier than they would have otherwise.

Public companies are required to have a whistleblower program in place to satisfy SOX. However, even if your company isn't public, a hotline can still benefit any organization. In fact, smaller companies suffer more fraud and other wrongdoing than their larger public counterparts, so having a whistleblower program in place makes good business sense.

Here are some of the key benefits an organization and employees will experience after implementing a ethics hotline:
  1. Learn of the misconduct sooner, lessening the duration. When an employee is carrying a 'heavy' observation, it takes courage and often sleepless nights as they try to determine first whether to say something, and then who to say it to. Having a fully confidential partner in the process increases the likelihood that even the very hesitant and fearful employee brings forward the information. 
  2. Trained agents communicating with the anonymous reporter. A qualified whistleblower partner organization focuses its employee training on information gathering. Agents understand what questions to ask so that the information the company receives is detailed enough to be actionable. 
  3. Avoid violations, legal battles, bad press. When information leaks, in today's very social society, individuals accused of wrongdoing make instant headlines. Having a third party whistleblowing service gives the company yet another opportunity to resolve issues in-house, before they make the headlines. 
  4. Encourages a speak-up culture. When an employer presents that it has subscribed to a third party partner for the anonymous reporting of ethics and compliance concerns, it goes a long ways in proving to the employees that the organization is sincerely interested in their input. Presented correctly, the addition of a whistleblowing partner shows employees a strong desire to run an ethical and upright organization, which gives the very clear impression that internal doors are very open for input and feedback. 
Hopefully this give you insight to how an ethics hotline can benefit your organization. Public companies already know the benefits of a whistleblower hotline as mandated by SOX… others find out about the benefits after regulators hand down hefty fines.
But any organization, private and non-profit can benefit too. Misconduct isn’t limited to securities violations. It comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes that have devastating consequences to businesses, and employee relations.

If you would like more information about the whistleblowing services offered by MySilentWhistle, please click HERE.

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