What is a whistleblower, exactly?
At its core, a whistleblower is an individual within or connected to an organisation who raises concerns about misconduct. They are often employees or insiders who witness wrongdoing, such as fraud, corruption, safety violations, or other misconduct.
Defining whistleblower policies
Whistleblowing policies serve as guiding principles that outline definitions, protections, and expectations for reporting misconduct. The primary goal of these policies is to establish a framework that empowers employees and stakeholders to voice concerns without fear of retaliation. While compliance with whistleblowing laws is essential, fostering transparency through open dialogue is equally important.
Legal necessity to have a whistleblowing policy
Many organisations find themselves subject to regulatory mandates governing whistleblower reports. For instance, the European Directive for the Protection of Whistleblowers first entered into force in 2019, aiming to establish and promote a high level of protection for citizens to report breaches of EU law.
The directive makes it mandatory for member states to comply. The first deadline was December 17, 2021 and the next one was December 23, 2023. Furthermore, other parts of the world have also adopted stricter rules, for example: the SEC in the USA has amended rules regarding whistleblower awards, and countries like India and Japan have strengthened their whistleblower protections.
Tips for crafting an effective whistleblowing policy
Creating or refining a whistleblower policy can be challenging, requiring a solid plan for execution. Here are some valuable tips:
Change your mindset
Encourage a culture in which speaking up is valued. Train leaders to listen and respond positively to concerns. This builds a foundation of trust and openness.
Make the purpose of your policies clear
Spell out what your whistleblowing program is all about. Focus on commitment to ethical behaviour, keeping reporters anonymous, and thoroughly looking into every report.
Make reporting easy
Set up a reliable and efficient reporting system that's simple to use and protects the identity of the reporter. People should feel comfortable and easy to report, so they feel confident that they will be in safe hands.
Educate your team on whistleblowing
Make sure everyone understands how to report issues and why it's important. When people know what to do and why it matters, they're more likely to participate.
Set clear rules and establish roles
Define who does what when a report comes in. Having a clear process in place makes sure every report is taken seriously and dealt with properly.
Be open and clear
Clearly state who the policy is for and what issues should be reported. Transparency builds trust and encourages people to come forward.
Keep it simple
Write the policy in plain language. Avoid complicated legal terms so it's easier for everyone to understand and follow.
Ask for feedback
Listen to what employees have to say about the policy. Making changes based on their feedback can make the policy better and more effective.
Implementing these tips can help you create a whistleblowing policy that's straightforward, trusted, and effective, ensuring that everyone in your organisation feels safe and supported when raising concerns.
Manage global misconduct and whistleblower reporting for the better
An effective whistleblower policy is indispensable for organisations who aim to manage misconduct timely, which starts with a speak up culture. One where you prioritise the protection of reporters, and in turn build trust, transparency, and a strong ethical framework in your organisation.
To complement your whistleblowing policy, you need to lower the threshold for reporters to voice their concern – which is exactly what SpeakUp‘s industry leading whistleblowing platform champions.
With over two decades of experience helping 2000+ organisations catch misconduct early, SpeakUp platform addresses the interests of both organisations and reporters. The fully anonymous and easy-to-use reporting channel makes things simpler for employees to voice their concern and for organisations to be in charge of driving positive change.