Pat Harned ,president of the ERC talked about the recent Retaliation study and said that whistleblowers ask themselves five key questions:
1. Will anybody do anything?
2. Will I be retaliated against?
3. Will it make a difference?
4. Do I feel comfortable?
5. Will I be supported?
Now given all of this and how expensive these answers could be with lawsuits, etc., here’s another view.
1. We need to promote whistle blowing by rewarding them, not retaliating or punishing.
Why? It’s financially better, builds a positive work environment, builds morale, develops employee engagement.
2. Ethically, why “punish” someone for doing the right thing? The questions above reflect people that are fearful, conflicted, and still wanting to do the “right thing.” So how does the organization treat them? They are retaliated against in any number of ways.
3. All of this puts into serious question the quality and commitment of an organization’s compliance and ethics training program. How an organization treats whistleblowers , for me , is a direct reflection into how comprehensive one’s ethics training is designed and implemented.
So here’s the bottom line for me:
Train your people to “be whistleblowers when necessary, for their own good, the good of customers, the good of company and for the good of each other. Take the fear out of this decision.
Reward people publicly, for bringing forward serious issues for resolution and make them part of the team that resolves these issues. This creates a positive environment and raises morale.
Be financially responsible. It is much cheaper to fix a problem than it is to ignore it, deny it, and “punish the messenger.”
This would be a great start to re-evaluate your own stance on whistleblowing.