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Memo to Managers
Encouraging the Anonymous Reporter to Follow-up
Our company offers employees a number of avenues to raise questions or concerns. You, as a manager, are a primary resource for your team members. An alternate resource is our company’s hotline/helpline that employees can use to report either anonymously or offer their name and contact information. We do not discourage anonymous reporting and, as managers, it is important to respect this option. We do ask, however, that those who report anonymously remain engaged in the process by following up on their reports.
The Majority of Anonymous Reporters Don't Follow Up on Their Reports
Research has consistently shown that seven out of ten anonymous reporters are not following-up to their reports. This low rate makes it difficult for investigators to truly investigate a case, thus affecting the overall perceived effectiveness of the hotline/helpline program. Following-up allows investigators to pose questions that will give them additional information to the reported incident and may mean the difference between resolving a case or not. Further, these reporters are not learning whether their concern has been addressed. Both of these outcomes lead to frustration – both for reporters and investigators.
Explaining the Process to Your Team
Whether an anonymous report comes in through the web or hotline/helpline, the reporter is given a unique identification number as well as a PIN. It is important that the reporter save these two numbers in a safe place. These unique identifiers will be the only way that they are able to follow-up to their report. Typically investigators will post any questions they have within ten days of opening their investigation. The responsibility then falls on the reporter to check in and respond to those questions.
Periodically Remind Your Team of the Importance of Reporting All Misconduct
The company has incorporated processes during the initial intake of a report designed to increase awareness of the importance of following-up. However, we need your support in reminding and encouraging all employees who report to you to stay engaged in the process and see it through. You can do this in a group or staff meeting as part of a discussion of the overall hotline/helpline process. If you need additional information about our processes you can contact the ethics office and we will be happy to assist.
We encourage all managers to embrace their role in developing the culture surrounding the use of a hotline/helpline and all of our reporting options. Consistent and positive encouragement can increase the effectiveness of these processes and help us all benefit by creating a stronger organizational culture.
Question of the Month
Q: As a manager I often have employees ask me what the follow-up process is for an anonymous report. What have you seen as best practice?
A: When your employees file an anonymous report, they are given a unique ID and PIN number. Remind them to hold on to these numbers. It is important that they check back in 10-14 days after they submit their case. We recommend having them check back twice throughout the process. Often times an investigator will post questions to help gain more information. The second follow-up will allow the reporter to answer final questions if needed, or see the outcome of the case.
The Hotline Benchmarking Toolkit will help you learn from the hotline report data in your case management system, assess your organizational culture and improve your compliance program.
Using Compliance Communicator
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