We are delighted to share the results of the 2018 edition of our WhistleB annual customer study on organizational whistleblowing.
This has been a year during which whistleblowing has truly been in the spotlight, receiving largely more positive attention from the media, organisational leaders and regulators alike. The main findings of this year’s customer survey reflect this more favourable view on whistleblowing.
1. Customers receive significantly more whistleblowing reports
On average, organizations received one message per 400 employees per year, a doubling since last year’s survey. This development is likely fuelled by the changing attitude towards whistleblowers, and also the fact that more organisations are opening up their systems to external parties (see point 4 below.)
2. Reports provide valuable information, but anonymity is a critical success factor
Customers reported that 75% of all whistleblower messages led to investigations. This, once again, highlights that whistleblower messages enable the organisation to act against misconduct early.
However, the option to report anonymously, along with the strictest data security, is essential; approximately half of the messages led to an anonymous dialogue. As one customer put it, their whistleblowing system provided a “…channel for anonymous reporting, when people would otherwise not speak up.”
3. Financial irregularities and workplace-related abuse are most commonly reported
Nearly half of all reports received by respondents were about economic fraud and irregularities of some sort. However, workplace-related abuse issues have also risen during the last year. This is expected as people start to realise that issues such as discrimination, harassment and bullying also constitute serious unethical behaviour.
4. External parties are more likely to be invited to report
While employees remain the main source of whistleblowing messages, suppliers, customers and other parties are increasingly invited to report. We attribute this to organisations viewing whistleblowing more and more as a proactive part of their business ethics work.
5. Online reporting dominates
Our customers receive 90% of their reports through the online channel. This is due to the pervasiveness of smart devices, the ease with which evidential materials can be attached to web-based reports and stricter requirements on the management of personal information.