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Why It's Imperative to Have a Whistle Blowing Policy

chain of employees
 
With the current globalization of our news media climate aligned with the increased focus on corporations, the frequency of publicized whistle blowing is on the rise. Currently, if you do not have a whistle blowing policy in effect it is in your best interest to employ one immediately.
 
Whistle blowing policies have always been looked on with a rather ambivalent eye, but in recent years it has become imperative for corporations large and small, for profit and non-profit alike to institute them. 
 
The current corporate environment has made these policies invaluable tools for any business and even proactive insurance policies, for lack of a better term. Below are a few reasons why it is in the best interest for your company to adopt a whistle blowing policy and to do so as soon as possible.
 

Why It's Imperative to Have a Whistle Blowing Policy

Laying the groundwork for inappropriate behaviour

One of the biggest reasons why a whistle blowing policy is important is that it lays the ground work for what is considered either acceptable or not acceptable behaviour within a company. Ask yourself this- if there is no rule against something, how can it be verified as inappropriate?

By instituting a whistle blowing policy, you are in essence informing your employees that inappropriate behaviours are in fact unacceptable and punishable through disciplinary action and you simultaneously reiterate to your employees that their input is valuable and paid attention to. 

People are more likely to help or inform someone of something if they feel as if it will be respected as valid or appreciated.

Eliminating the grey area

Another reason for the need for a whistle blowing policy is simply liability. By providing documented proof of a whistle blowing policy, you can effectively perform disciplinary action when said policy is broken and without having to deal with technicalities, grey areas, or without unnecessary termination or discrimination lawsuits.

When employees break or circumvent documented policies within a company, they will be aware that they can be held liable for such and that outside information from other sources can be used as a determining factor.

Minimizing fraud and other inappropriate behaviour

Whistle blowing policies are proactive measures on several levels. For instance, the very existence of a whistle blowing policy could undoubtedly curb the amount of fraud or improper behaviour taking place within a corporation as employees will be more aware that they are being monitored by every set of eyes within the corporation.
 
This will lead to less wrong doing over time.
 
Furthermore, by instituting a whistle blowing policy and making it public, a corporation is essentially informing both the public as well as current and/or future business partners that they take unethical behaviour, fraud, illegal wrong doing, etc… very seriously and are taking a proactive approach to eradicating any future occurrences of the above mentioned improper activities.
 

Protecting the company's brand image

Would you rather handle an incident internally or have it open for the entire world to see?

Whistle blowing policies help curb improper activities at the lowest level possible, preventing them from building and building until the incident becomes so huge that it could potentially irrevocably damage the brand image of a company should the incident go public. No company likes bad press and in the current corporate climate, media sources are scouring multiple industries looking for evidence of wrong doing as it makes for major news stories.

Just look at past incidents of public whistle blowing and imagine how easy it could have been to solve the issues internally as opposed to having the companies names smeared across news tickers and front page headlines.

In summation, a whistle blowing policy is a proactive approach at curbing improper business practices prior to them occurring, successfully handling current instances of unethical behaviour internally and without bad press as well as providing avenues for employees to voice concerns. A whistle blowing policy is a must have document for any company who prides itself on internal transparency, external image and an ethical track record.  

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Topics: ClearRisk risk tools risk mitigation plan whistle blowing policy legal risk ClearRisk Inc. risk mitigation risk mitigation planning organizational risk