One of the troubling findings in our most recent Ethics and Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report is that organizations are taking longer and longer to close cases, continuing a trend we’ve seen throughout this decade.
Case Closure Time Increase: Up From 32 to 46 Days in the Past Four Years
The case closure time is up from a median of 32 calendar days in 2011 to 46 calendar days in 2015. The best practice case closure time is an average of 30 calendar days.
What Kinds of Cases are Taking the Longest to Close?
HR-related cases saw the biggest jump in closure time rising to 47 days, compared with 39 in the previous year’s findings. Compliance departments should be able to address these types of cases in a week or less. Taking nearly 50 days to address and close this type of case is worrisome.
What is the Cause of the Increasing Case Closure Time?
This is the big question.
We surveyed nearly 700 individuals who attended our webinar announcing this year’s hotline results, asking what they attributed the increasing case closure to. Forty-six percent pointed to a lack of resources. Thirty-two percent of respondents cited increased case complexity as the main driver for case closures taking longer.
What Ethics & Compliance Officers Can Do to Address the Issue
The increasing case closure time should be a red flag for organizations. Slow closure times can affect morale and productivity and can even prompt employees to report issues externally—directly to regulatory agencies. It’s also something compliance officers and company leaders should take note of—especially given tougher talk from Washington about increased personal liability in compliance matters.
Organizations that significantly or consistently exceed an average 30 day case closure time are encouraged to review their case handling and investigation procedures and to review with senior leadership any gaps in available resources that need to be addressed. Look carefully at the factors that could be causing delays in closing cases and address them.
To learn how you can reduce case closure time with a whistleblower reporting system and incident management software, contact a NAVEX Global solutions expert today.