Never has it been more critical to create an open and constructive organisational culture, where employees feel the ability to raise issues freely without fear of recrimination, and to have those issues listened to and appropriately addressed.
Historically, employees in regions such as Europe have often been reluctant to ‘blow the whistle’. However, new research from our latest NAVEX Global annual EMEA & APAC Ethics & Compliance Whistleblowing Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report reveals that whistleblowing and reporting rates across organisations in EMEA and APAC doubled from 2015 to 2016.
Download Report: EMEA Whistleblowing Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report
If this trend follows U.S. historical reporting data, we would expect to see reporting volumes for EMEA & APAC organisations continue to increase over the next decade.
Drawing on the reports from hotlines in EMEA & APAC, the median reporting rate rose from 0.2 reports per 100 employees in 2015 to 0.4 reports per 100 employees in 2016. This is a clear indication of the effect that European whistleblowing regulation and anti-retaliation protections are having on employee willingness to “speak out”.
If this trend follows U.S. historical reporting data, we would expect to see reporting volumes for EMEA & APAC organisations continue to increase over the next decade. And, with this “new normal” in reporting volume, we encourage organizations to use the data we’ve provided in the report to help make the business case with their boards and executive leadership teams for adding resources and tools.
Despite this increase in reporting, it is important to note that these regions still fall behind overall global figures as reported in our global hotline benchmark report. This suggests that organisations need to boost employee knowledge of the availability of reporting channels and to continuously work with employees to drive awareness of relevant reporting programmes.
Read More: Whistleblower Hotlines: Still a Vital Tool
Another area of concern and recommended focus for all organizations is case closure times, which the report shows have been increasing steadily.
This is a finding that should raise warning signs amongst organisations. The median figure for the time it takes from receiving a case, to marking it as closed, climbed from 37 days in 2014 to 46 days in 2016. Looking at the rise in case closure times, company leadership teams need to address their strategies for responding to workplace issues and ensure that there are appropriate resources in place to respond to concerns in a more timely way.
Companies need to ensure employees know how to report, what issues to report on and why reporting is important. Leadership teams need to understand and accept that internal reporting is valuable to the organization and adopt a mindset that reporters should be treated with respect. This includes ensuring that employees understand that they can report without fear of retaliation. Set out clearly in policies, communication materials, and actions that the organisation will not tolerate retaliation in any form against anyone who reports issues or participates in an internal investigation.