Despite the prevalence of whistleblower hotlines, there are many who continue to doubt the need for them and whether anonymous whistleblowers can be trusted. I’ll never forget attending a conference in Europe several years ago in which one of the speakers dismissed all anonymous claims as nothing more than lies directed at colleagues in acts of petty revenge.
Any doubts about the value of helplines and anonymity should be erased by the new NAVEX Global 2016 Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmarking Report. Based on data collected from over 2,300 companies and 867,551 individual incidents, the report reveals that the substantiation rate for claims made by named individuals was 47%, and for anonymous individuals it was at 36%.
To be sure, the anonymous figure was lower, but it’s a significant number nonetheless. The implication is clear: discard anonymous reports at your own risk. While they may not be as reliable, enough of them are accurate to be worth a serious look.
And, just as important, recognize that employees with genuine, real concerns have come to trust hotlines for contacting compliance when they see perceived wrongdoing.
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