Higher reports of whistleblowing have been reported because of the pandemic and frequent changes in rules and guidance, according to research by Safecall.

Culture changes and hybrid working patterns have created uncertainty and increases in misconduct in many workplaces.

The ongoing pandemic meant the number of health and safety reports remained higher than in past years and HR reports continued to rise.

Within the HR classification, reports from employees are categorised under bullying, discrimination, harassment, racism, unfair treatment, and victimisation.

‘Unfair treatment’ is the main complaint, with slight increases in bullying and harassment reported in 2021, according to the data.

Dishonest behaviour reports remained consistent with 2020, albeit with a decrease in the number of integrity and fraud issues raised.

However, these trends during the last year appeared have reverted to more normal patterns after the shock of COVID-19 in 2020. Dishonest behaviour and general misconduct reports were back similar levels seen in 2019, according to Safecall’s Whistleblowing Benchmark Report 2022.

 

What does this mean for HR?

Client Account Manager at Safecall, Greg Ogle, said: “The data is designed to inform and help organisations make better decisions when it comes to establishing whistleblowing arrangements. It should help HR and health & safety managers or departments to determine and measure performance of their organisation against their peers.

“There are many factors associated with an effective whistleblowing management system. Working across an extensive client base, in 108 countries, we have established best practice guidance to help organisations get the most from their whistleblowing arrangements,” he adds.

Whistleblowing has the added benefit of improving overall wellbeing.

While legislation (EU Whistleblowing Directive) and compliance are among the drivers of change, many businesses and organisations see that whistleblowing establishes an improved workplace, where employees are respected.

Safecall Operations Director, Tim Smith, said: “The pandemic seems to have accelerated different patterns of working and behaviour. This, in turn, has made more employers look at culture change and that has prompted greater interest and use of whistleblowing services.”

“More companies and organisations see the benefits of creating a safe space for employees to live and work. Employers are increasingly seeing how such services protect the integrity of an organisation as well as the reputation of a brand,” he adds.