As an employer, you want to have employees who can come forward and report misconduct or suspicious activities to help prevent your business from being liable, but in many cases, workers will only come forward if they know or are sure that they’ll not be vilified and the company is committed to addressing the issues.
Sometimes, employees don’t report suspicious activities within the company because they don’t know where to report or how to report it. Here are four ways you can empower your employees to report misconduct and suspicious activities.
What Is Considered Misconduct or Suspicious Activity?
Misconduct in a workplace is any behavior that is against ethics, code of conduct, and other company policies. This might include unprofessional, unethical, criminal behavior, and other unusual suspicious activities in a workplace setting. Examples of misconduct and suspicious activities include
- Fraud cases
- Mishandling of company property
- Sexual harassment
- Having extremist materials
- Putting other staff at risk
- Mental health cases
If a worker witnesses any misconduct and suspicious activity from other workers, managers, or the company, it should be reported to a supervisor, HR, or relevant management for investigations. Alternatively, the employee can report the matter to the police, especially if it’s an emergency.
4 Ways to Encourage Employees to Report Misconduct and Suspicious Activities
Build a Company Culture of Integrity
You want your staff to report misconduct and wrongdoing and also feel comfortable doing it. The best way to do this is to create, promote and nurture a company’s culture of integrity. Often, employees with integrity will feel empowered and comfortable to come forward if they believe the company has committed to addressing wrongdoing without vilifying the whistleblower.
Publicize and Promote Whistleblower Hotline
Employees might fail to report misconduct and suspicious activity in a company if they have no idea where to do it. Often, organizations bury their ethics and compliance hotline details deep in employee handbooks without mentioning them anywhere else within the organization, but this is wrong. For employees to come forward and report, it’s important to:
- Make them aware of their reporting options
- Offer them numerous reporting methods
Also, note that a reporting hotline is a great tool to create a good and safe work environment, but it should not infringe on the employees’ freedom because that may reduce their productivity.
Make Reporting a 24/7/365 Service
Often employees are uncomfortable, nervous, and scared to come forward and report issues related to wrongdoing or misconduct in the workplace. They may feel anxious and face retaliation, exclusion, and even losing their jobs if the issue reported is false. The best way to empower employees to come forward is to make the reporting schedule, including the hotline number, available for 24/7/365. A worker can gather courage any moment — day or night — come forward, and they should be able to do so at that instance. Providing 24/7/365 access can also mean availing other methods of reporting such as:
- Anonymous reporting
- Customized email address
- Web portal
- Complaint or suggestion box
- Establish a no retaliation policy
Your business needs an anti-retaliation policy as part of your ethical codes of conduct. Employees must not retaliate, and no retaliation level can be tolerated. This policy is essential for creating a successful reporting system and supporting the culture of integrity. non-retaliation policy insurers witness and assure them of protection when they come forward.
Reporting misconduct is never easy, and workers who do often experience lost confidence from other staff members. It is an uncomfortable affair that must be free, open, accessible, and insured against retaliation. It’s also important for employees to have different reporting channels and sometimes anonymous ones when one’s life and safety is at risk.