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How healthy is your incident management program? | NAVEX

[author: Linda Luty]

Effective hotline incident management is one of the most important activities an organization can undertake to show its staff that input is valued and misconduct issues will be resolved. Strong incident management programs are able to track reports from multiple intake channels, providing a holistic view of issues and insight into the cultural health of the organization.

Believe it or not, for some this is a controversial view. Many organizations still view whistleblower hotlines as a mere necessity for regulatory compliance – with the aim of receiving as few reports as possible. This mentality is best described as “check the box” compliance and neglects one of the most valuable resources your company has: employee feedback and feedback. Whistleblower hotlines, when implemented and administered correctly, are the best indicator of your organization’s culture.

Whistleblower hotlines, when implemented and administered correctly, are the best indicator of your organization’s culture.

Effective incident management programs enable stronger and more ethical cultures. By setting an expectation for every employee and handling cases with care and speed, organizations are better attuned to workforce needs and can act quickly when issues arise. Strong incident management programs also enable more ethical cultures by demonstrating an organization-wide commitment to ethics and compliance.

In addition, a higher level of reporting contributes to better business results. Although it may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, higher levels of reporting indicate trust in the system and provide valuable insight into company culture. The information included in incident reports flags areas of risk that business leaders should address as opportunities to achieve an ethical, engaged, and high-performing culture.

An essential part of a healthy incident management program is to offer multiple methods of admission to meet the needs and comfort level of the workforce. The most common methods of admission are telephone helplines, online forms, and open door reports. Additionally, bringing this information together in a single source of truth is imperative so that those involved in case management have full visibility and up-to-date information.

Tracking and case management processes ensure that reported incidents are collected in a centralized location, resolved in a timely manner, and reported accurately, regardless of origin.

There is a clear case for working with a third party (such as NAVEX) to help manage case support and record keeping: not only does using a trusted partner ensure that you receive the best software from its category to help you manage cases in one center location, fully trained admissions specialists are able to address filer concerns comprehensively. Additionally, using a trusted third party alleviates the resource constraints of employing an in-house team 24/7/365 across multiple time zones and ensures your hotline meets regulatory compliance standards.

Whistleblower hotlines are tools for employees and third parties to report misconduct and make inquiries, but without top-down membership, E&C programs will struggle. Embracing a culture of ethics and compliance should be a priority for senior management, the board, and all levels of people management, in order to gain traction with individual contributors (and even third-party partners).

So what does it look like? From top to bottom, management must advocate and promote the use of the hotline and ensure timely and consistent resolution of cases. While this may seem simple, many organizations still struggle to internalize the value of hotline reports, dedicate appropriate resources to programs, and/or view reports as negative.

Communication campaigns should be designed to educate target audiences and motivate them to report their concerns. Adult learning theory is clear that people learn differently, so use a variety of delivery methods to ensure the message is received.

Dissemination methods may include posters in break rooms, emails, screensavers, virtual meetings, articles in employee newsletters, wallet cards, brochures and corporate intranet sites. enterprise, as well as burst or micro-learning messages. Reinforce key messages during team building meetings and other face-to-face events. It’s also important to consider the age range that makes up your workforce and include mechanisms that are relevant for multiple generations.

Once an allegation is reported, it should be addressed and, if necessary, investigated thoroughly. The organization should critically assess whether it has the resources to support an investigative process or whether it should seek the services of an independent third-party investigator. Delays in completing surveys damage the reputation of the organization and the program.

The NAVEX Hotline Benchmark Report 2022 shows a continued increase in the median number of days to close a report, with 22% of cases taking 100 days or more to close.

The above thoughts on incident management programs are intended to set the stage for why these programs are essential parts of your organization’s culture and how leadership buy-in affects a program’s effectiveness. Getting started, measuring effectiveness, iterating, and building these programs requires dedicated resources and time. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably already understand why this matters – beyond maintaining regulatory compliance.

The recently updated Definitive Guide to Incident Management is a resource to help compliance managers demonstrate the value of a robust program and provides practical tools, questions to ask, and tips for setting up your program successfully .

For a deeper dive into incident management programs, from start-up to continuous improvement:

Download the Definitive Guide to Incident Management

See the original article on Risk & Compliance Matters