Research has shown that the vast majority of companies’ ethics hotlines are not utilized effectively due to fear of retaliation. Why is that? What is the process of following up with a compliant? What scares one’s people from doing so?
When it comes right down to it, shouldn’t organizations want its people to report any ethics/compliances issues? Reporting them would be a reflection of the values that an organization has trained its people to believe in, communicated, and expect values based behavior in the workplace. Why then does a system fail when it comes to actually behaving in accordance with those values?
Can an organization really oversee itself? If organizations REALLY took their values seriously, they would be rewarding those who report violations of the core values on which a company says it’s based. In fact, the term ”whistleblower” would never be used, because it is degrading. Instead a term like, values advocate, should be used because they are reporting behaviors that challenge the very values and ethics that the organization trained them to embrace and that affect the morale, productivity and the workplace environment . If one’s own organization can’t see the value of this then something is seriously wrong. Maybe leaders ought to:
• Find another and/or additional options for overseeing the reporting of ethical/compliance violations.
• Find a system that will make all involved in investigating an issue accountable and responsible for the process and resolution.
• Find the proper reward, not punishment, for those who report violations.
• Make sure that anyone who violates the sacred trust of confidentiality, anonymity, and retaliates should be punished, i.e. terminated, suspended, etc.
Is this really that difficult? Do you believe in your values or not? Is ethics important or not? What lengths should you go to protect those who live those values for the betterment of all?