Why Your Business Needs a Whistleblower Hotline

What’s to Report? Financial fraud isn’t the only concern for businesses. Ethical violations of every sort imaginable can take place at any organization and within any department. According to a 2013 National Business Ethics Survey (NEBS) conducted by the Ethics Resource Center, 41 percent of the respondents indicated they witnessed some form of workplace misconduct, including conflicts of interest, discrimination and violations of health and safety regulations. With an anonymous whistleblower hotline in place for employees, tips can be submitted safely and securely for all manner of wrongdoing:

 Financial: Every business is at risk of financial abuses and errors. From inadequate accounting procedures to audit issues and simple billing errors, there are a plethora of opportunities for mistakes to be made or criminal activity to take place.

Ethical: Some business practices may not necessarily break any laws, but they would still be considered unethical if utilized improperly. Ethical breaches can include anything from code of conduct violations to outright theft, including intellectual property theft.

Privacy: In today’s digital world where everyone and everything is connected and online, privacy concerns have never been more pronounced. Identity theft can happen to anyone, and breaches can occur anywhere personal information is stored. The health care industry is particularly at risk for inadvertent confidentiality breaches.

 Security: Security goes hand-in-hand with privacy. Securing both physical and digital property is becoming harder and harder with the advancement of technology. Hackers target everything from electronic door locks to customer databases.

Safety: Businesses that don’t take safety seriously put their workers in jeopardy, as well as their customers. OSHA violations aside, an unsafe work environment is neither efficient nor profitable.

HR Violations: No department benefits more directly from the implementation of a reporting hotline than human resources. HR professionals constantly deal with ethical and workplace safety issues, from employee handbook violations to harassment and discrimination.

With an anonymous, easy-to-use reporting system, employees feel much more comfortable reporting wrongdoing. They know their name won’t be attached to the tip. They won’t fear retaliation. But they WILL report the issue that could end up saving the organization money and even lives thanks to early detection and correction. Having adequate controls that seek out fraud, rather than relying on external or passive detection methods, can dramatically reduce the cost and duration of illicit activity. Such controls also allow for more information to be gathered up front.