Last week, Carrie Penman and I hosted the “Benchmarking Your Hotline: How Does Your Data Measure Up Against NAVEX Global’s 2014 Benchmarks?” webinar where we discussed top-level findings from NAVEX Global’s 2014 Hotline Benchmark Report. Our annual Hotline Benchmarking Report helps organizations gauge how their own reports compare to the findings from the largest database of hotline reports in the world.
Some of the key findings from the 2014 report, which we discussed in depth on the webinar, were:
- There was a 33 percent increase in Report Volume since 2010
- Repeat Reporters are reporting more often, and contributing valuable reports
- The rate of Anonymous Reporters has dropped back to its historical norm
- Substantiated Reports jumped 11 percent in five years
- Case Closure Time is creeping up, which could impact organizations if not addressed
A lot of great questions were asked throughout the event and we have selected three of the most common questions to expand on:
Q: Since we know the majority of misconduct is reported to supervisors and never make it to the helpline, how can we be sure that the comparatively small number of reports received by the helpline really reflect what's going on in the organization?
A: The short answer is you can’t be sure. Reports that get to the helpline can, however, be a leading indicator of a potential problem. In order to broaden this perspective, companies use their case management system in conjunction with other functional groups such as HR, Legal or Security to have a broader perspective. Often a supervisor will take the concern to one of the other functional groups or a local ethics officer and the issue can be captured in this way.
Q: Do you feel that anonymous reporting is an issue?
A: We do not believe that anonymous reporting is an issue. In fact, we believe the opposite – anonymous reports are important as indicated by substantiation rate of anonymous reports. We do believe, however, that, if 90-100 percent of incoming reports are anonymous, there is a strong likelihood that there are underlying culture or management issues that need to be addressed. It is also important to ensure that employees are using their ability to report anonymous responsibly. By this we mean that employees need to understand that they have an obligation to report meaningful issues, stay involved and check back for questions in the requested time frames.
Q: Is there any way to acquire benchmarking data for our specific industry?
A: Yes, we do calculate all of the same metrics on an industry-specific basis. We offer it on a client-by-client basis as part of our Integrity Diagnostics service. Looking at data specific to your industry is a seminal way to compare your hotline and case management data to peer organizations on a deeper level.
This year’s report revealed a number of interesting change and departures from years previous, and we’ve called them out in their entirety in recent communications, but the main takeaway from the report is that the findings reveal that internal whistleblower reporting programs are being used by employees more, and concerns shared are being substantiated at a significantly higher rate. That, in and of itself, is to be lauded broadly.