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Building a Successful Whistleblower Hotline Program – Part Two

Posted on 6/16/11 9:30 AM

In part one of our series posted on June 14th, we reviewed the rationale behind implementing a successful whistleblower hotline program..  We took a look at the necessity of having an anonymous avenue for employees to report fraud and business abuse concerns.  In addition, we reviewed the first two of four key steps to implementing a successful whistleblower hotline program.  Today we will examine the final two steps to success.

Success Key #3:         Overcoming the “Snitch Stigma”

One of the biggest barriers to a successful whistleblower hotline program is what I like to call the “Snitch Stigma”.  Inherently, most people do not want to “rat out” their friends, even if they realize that their friends are stealing. 

When implementing a hotline, it is important to address this objection from the beginning.  Failure to do so will almost definitely result in the failure of the line.  So, how do you go about overcoming this objection? 

The key is demonstrating to your employees that employeeWhistleblower Hotline Part 2 resized 600 theft is not just something that hurts the company or the owner. 

It is important employees feel they have a personal stake in the business. This mentality may be difficult to establish, especially with part-time employees.  When discussing employee dishonesty, it is imperative to point out the correlation between internal theft and employee benefits.  

An employer can show employees how the loss caused by a dishonest employee results in a reduction in payroll hours and lower or lack of raises and/or promotional opportunities for everyone in the organization. 

When employees realize a dishonest teammate is actually stealing from them personally, they are more likely to share their knowledge of the theft. 

Creating employee buy-in for your loss prevention efforts is a process that we at LP Innovations refer to as building a culture of honesty.  When you build a culture of honesty in your company, you will be surprised at just how many calls you receive on the whistleblower line.

Success Key #4:         Follow Up

The final key to building a successful whistleblower hotline program is following up on calls.  No matter how many calls you receive on the hotline, if you fail to follow up on each and every one of them the line will ultimately fail. 

Employees who step outside of their comfort zone to call the line must be rewarded by seeing results. 

Not all calls will result in termination, however employees can still see results of their calls by realizing action is being taken.  Investigations into theft concerns must be completed thoroughly and swiftly.  Employee relations issues must be addressed and resolved by Human Resources. 

Many hotline providers, including the hotline provided on behalf of LP Innovations, have the capacity in which a response to a call can be posted for the original caller to review, even if the caller remained anonymous.  If this function is available, it is important to provide this follow up for every call, even if the reported infraction is minute.  When employees see proper follow up on calls, word will spread and more employees will begin to utilize the line.

Final Thoughts

Setting up a successful whistleblower hotline program is a challenging endeavor that can yield outstanding results to the long-term viability of any loss prevention program.  It is important to keep in mind that honest employees actually want to help you reduce incidents of employee theft in your company.  Overwhelmingly, honest employees want to come forward with knowledge of fraud or business abuse, but there are definitely barriers involved.  Honest employees need to know their help is requested and desired by the company.  In addition, they need to know what that help is going to cost them personally and what actions they need to take.  When you take the time to answer these questions and promote your whistleblower hotline program, you will see a wider acceptance and greater use on behalf of your employees.

Written by Kevin Griggs, Account Executive

Topics: Loss Prevention program and development, Business Abuse Line/Tip Line