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Friday, July 9, 2021

Why It’s Time To Modernize Your Ethics Hotline

Claire Schmidt
Originally posted 18 Jun 21

Traditional whistleblower hotlines are going to be a thing of the past.

They certainly served a purpose and pioneered a way for employees to report wrongdoing at their companies confidentially. But the reasons are stacking up against them as to why they’re no longer serving companies and employees in 2021. And if companies continue to use them, they need to realize that issues or concerns may go unreported because employees don’t want to use that channel to report.

After all, the function of a whistleblower hotline is to encourage employees to report any wrongdoing they see in the workplace through a confidential channel, which means that the channels for reporting should get an upgrade.

But there are deeper reasons why issues remain unreported — and it goes beyond just offering a hotline to use. Today, companies need to give their employees better ways to report wrongdoing, as well as tell them the value of why they should do so. Otherwise, companies won’t hear about the full extent of wrongdoing happening in the workplace, whatever channel they provide.

The Evolution Of Workplace Reporting Channels

Whistleblower or ethics hotlines were initially that: a phone number — because that was the technology at the time — that employees could anonymously call to report wrongdoings at a company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 mandated that companies set up a method for “the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of the issuer of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.”