Creating a Corporate Compliance Program That Encourages Employees to Speak Up
Speak up: Your company is depending on you!
One of the top challenges for employers when rolling out an effective corporate compliance program is fostering an environment which encourages employees to speak up when they have a concern about workplace wrongdoing. The leading cause of silence is the fear of facing consequences for reporting concerns.
How can organizations motivate employees to speak up and then respond to them effectively?
Perceived organizational support and culture are among the biggest drivers of disclosure. Consider tone and tolerance from the top-down and at all levels within the organization. Encourage your leadership to adopt unbiased and impartial dialogue to build employees’ confidence to use their voices, and maintain that “speaking up” is a shared goal within the organization.
Moreover, set the expectation that everyone should feel comfortable speaking up with respect to ethical concerns, including all types of abuse and fraud, and that employees are provided several opportunities to do so, including via a confidential avenue such as a hotline. Reiterate that the organization benefits tremendously when team members ask the right questions and raise the right issues.
From a practical perspective, encourage employees to address issues with their direct manager/supervisor or HR, as most problems can be resolved quickly. But this may not always be the best way forward, so we want to have several options to have your voice heard.
Further, commit to investigating all reported instances of questionable or unethical behavior. In every instance where improper behavior is found to have occurred, take appropriate action. Reiterate a zero-tolerance policy for retaliation against employees who raise genuine ethical concerns in good faith.
Employers who adopt an integrated solution including compliance-based strategies augmented with other communication strategies and inter-organizational support that encourages employees to surface concerns will reduce their chances of having an un-reported event.