In our previous article we reviewed that some employers will be obliged to establish a whistleblowing system within their organization starting from 17 December 2021. The formal implementation of the system is not sufficient in itself, it also needs to meet the goals and requirements of law in practice. In our present article we would like to draw attention to the reasons why it may be worthwhile to set up and implement such a procedure within an organization, whether by law or on a voluntary basis.
By ensuring the legal protection of the reporting persons, in the future there will be a much greater chance of detecting infringements committed by people in higher positions. Indeed, employees at the lower level of hierarchy are in many cases already aware of the infringements, but due to the fear of retaliation arising from the system’s structure, they could not yet (dare to) tell. Based on the new rules, the reports also mean a significant reputational risk, since if it is investigated and resolved by the authorities, that could result in the negative image of the whole (group) company. However, with the establishment of an internal system, problems can be solved in-house. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that by discovering infringements, companies can save high costs, which thus, can increase their efficiency.
Benefits of infringement prevention in work
In today’s accelerated and increasingly online world, ensuring control is getting harder. While the presence of the colleagues may have been an effective deterrent in the office, this is not always the case in the world of home office. In recent times, we have often read that employers failed to provide the conditions of home office for their employees, or that the work-life balance shifted, forcing many to work overtime. Ultimately, these are serious breaches of labour law rules that management is often not aware of in case of larger organizations.
It is worth mentioning that the whistleblowing system also can be used to uncover minor irregularities that were present as an open secret previously, but the management was unaware of. For example, the abuses regarding the systems that measure the effectiveness and performance of employees (e.g., timesheets, systems that record logistical processes).
Prevention of fluctuation
An effectively operated reporting system can also result in lower fluctuation, as if employees know that a company values lawfulness, it increases employee confidence and provides an opportunity for the company to improve its organization based on honest feedback of employees.
Improvement of resilience
Last but not least, resilience may be improved, which can lead to competitive advantage. In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, new forms of employment have explosively spread. This has led to the emergence of new schemes and needs. More and more people are teleworking or becoming digital nomads. The definition of working time has also been challenged by the need to give workers more flexibility to organize their working hours according to how their daily routines have changed. If a company develops a corporate culture in which employees’ voice, feedback and transparency are valued, it can be a major attraction.
Based on the above, it can be ascertained that, in addition to comply with the legal obligations, the implementation of reporting systems can bring several benefits to employers, by which they can reduce potential reputational risks and fluctuation, enhance organizational efficiency and effectiveness, as well as employee and market perception.