Challenge: Ensuring Remote Staff Are Able to Raise Concerns Confidentially
Ensuring employees feel safe and secure is one of the top priorities for Soneva, a luxury resort group with properties in the Maldives and Thailand. The company prides itself on open lines of communication between hosts – Soneva’s term for resort employees – and management.
Joanne Bowen, Chief Host Engagement Officer, travels frequently to the resorts to meet and speak with the teams and during one of these visits she learned that there were instances when female hosts were sometimes hesitant to use those direct lines of communication to report sensitive issues or to discuss concerns. Joanne wanted to make certain that hosts would always feel comfortable to approach the company to discuss any issue, so decided to look for a way to enhance the existing lines of communication by providing a safe way for hosts to make a report directly to her and the senior leadership (Core) team.
Solution: EthicsPoint® Opens Up a New Line of Communication
Acting on a recommendation from a colleague, Joanne turned to NAVEX Global’s incident management solution, EthicsPoint, to help her provide a safe, anonymous reporting solution, that was not only available to all hosts to report any incidents that they witnessed that went against Soneva’s Core Values, but also opened an additional line of communication for Soneva’s female hosts working at the resorts in the event that they experienced any incidents that made them feel uncomfortable.
“It was a case of, ‘How can we make our hosts feel safer, and have the opportunity to report any incidents confidentially?’” commented Joanne Bowen. “On the ground there, I was made aware of an incident where a host had felt uncomfortable to come forward and report an incident directly, fearing that it might get back to parties involved, or wouldn’t be handled discreetly. We thought that having EthicsPoint as a reporting tool would be an ideal opportunity, if there were any such incidents in the future, to provide our hosts with an alternative method for reporting incidents, if they wished.”
Soneva uses a version of EthicsPoint that provides employees with secure online access to a confidential reporting system. Joanne worked with NAVEX Global customer support to customise the website’s submission page and set up the case management system to provide a secure repository to track and review each report to Soneva’s specific needs. NAVEX Global also worked to translate the online report intake form into Thai.
Joanne made sure that EthicsPoint is highly visible throughout the organization by putting posters in all of Soneva’s offices and host restaurants. Hosts are now fully aware that EthicsPoint is available to them, and the importance of reporting a concern is reiterated at every team meeting. Soneva’s Founder and CEO, Sonu Shivdasani also mentions the availability of EthicsPoint regularly at the Company’s quarterly ‘CEO Connect’ forum.
Results: Building Trust in the Community by Improving Safety
For Soneva, deploying EthicsPoint goes beyond helping make hosts feel safer – the software also contributes to the company’s larger goals. In the Maldives, only 4% of women are in the workforce. Soneva is working to change that at its resorts. Right now, 18% of its workforce are women. Joanne wants to see that number go even higher. Part of pushing that number up is working with local families to help them understand that not only do the resorts give Maldivian women the opportunity to develop rewarding careers, but that they are a safe place for women to work. “We are working with the community to help change a cultural mindset. Historically women have not tended to work in the hospitality industry in the Maldives as it had been seen as a predominantly male domain, yet by targeting the parents and showing them that we as a company are doing all we can to make sure our resorts provide a safe environment for young women to come and work and develop their careers, we are starting to make some great progress, not only at our resorts but within the hospitality industry in the Maldives as a whole,” Joanne explained. Overall, the hosts have been happy to have this new avenue of communication open to them.
Soneva is the sustainable luxury resort group founded by Sonu Shivdasani and his wife, Eva Malmström Shivdasani, in 1995. The success of the Soneva brand also paved the way for Six Senses Resorts and Spas, with award-winning properties in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Under Eva’s and Sonu’s direction the Six Senses brand gained a global following before being sold in 2012. Today Soneva has many imitators, but no equals. Each Soneva – and a yachting experience, Soneva in Aqua– impresses on a wide range of levels. Breathtaking ‘remote but accessible’ natural locations, effortlessly chic accommodation, incredible food, truly memorable activities, an inspiring ethos of sustainability and service that is uncannily intuitive.