We already have a blog post explaining what the whistleblower scheme is, but in this post we go into a bit more detail about the benefits of the scheme.
The scheme that ensures anonymity
To briefly summarise what a whistleblower scheme is, a whistleblower scheme is an agreement that gives an employee the assurance that they can anonymously report their workplace and colleagues about wrongdoing or violations.
For example, you can report:
- Occupational health and safety
- Breaches of legislation e.g. in GDPR
Typically, a whistleblower will have knowledge of violations of law or various policies that are within the company. This can either be a person who works in the company or someone who has legitimate knowledge and insight in the company.
Whistleblowing is an assurance to employees that they can report incidents in the company without having to worry about losing their jobs due to resentment or similar issues.
One of the benefits of whistleblowing
When a workplace has a whistleblower scheme, it also indicates that they have an open and honest working culture. This sends a signal to customers and business partners that everyone in the company genuinely trusts each other.
In addition, a company also shows trust in its employees by giving them the opportunity to report issues within the company - this is a transparency that is essential for an open working culture.
The whistleblower scheme creates a better and open working culture, which in turn leads to more productive employees. When employees can report problems immediately, they can also move on from the same problem.
Similarly, having an open work culture is also beneficial to the company as they ensure that employees report whistleblowing internally rather than going public. In this way, the workplace avoids the public spotlight, and possible bad reputation with their customers.
In the same way, you can also combat workplace malpractice while preventing misconduct and errors in work procedures.
One of the biggest reasons why whistleblowing is important to have implemented in the workplace is that employees experience errors in administration. This can lead to errors in processing personal data, for example, which breaks GDPR rules. If an employee discovers this, and it has been happening for a long time, the error can finally be corrected to avoid further trouble. Some employees continue the fraud if they are not caught in the act. But since you can report anonymously, it's more likely that it actually will be reported - and that the problem will be rectified.
Whistleblowing raises awareness
There can be many problems and underlying failures in administration in any workplace. But they can also be problems and mistakes that go unnoticed if they are not brought to attention.
Again, it's very much about whether you dare report a problem about, say, a manager, if you know they will get your name in connection with the report. This is why the whistleblower scheme is a great advantage, since, as mentioned, you can report anonymously.
You are typically not the only employee who has noticed problems or fraud in your workplace, but typically not many people dare to come forward and highlight the problem. That's why a whistleblower scheme makes it easier to highlight problems so that action can be taken.
As mentioned, it is always preferred if you can take discussions internally within the company and not have to blow it up and out to the public and social media. Typically, it is easier to resolve an issue internally and more quietly than if the public has to be involved.
A well-known example
A well-known example of a whistleblower is the American Edward Snowden. He worked at the NSA (National Security Agency), but in 2013 he claimed to have experienced more ethical problems with the organisation. Snowden reportedly spoke to several employees internally at the NSA before going to various journalists and newspapers.
This escalated to great heights, and ended with Snowden seeking asylum in Russia, where he has remained ever since.
Snowden is called many things, including a whistleblower because he shared information and concerns about his then-workplace.
The NSA is a very large organisation and few would be able to cause such a stir around the world. The takeaway from Snowden's example is that the whistleblower regime allegedly did not properly come into force. It will be allegation against allegation, but either way, it caused a big debate and put a new light on the whistleblower regime.
Food for thought
One of the things to remember about the whistleblower scheme is that anyone can report problems and fraud.
That said, if there are personal issues involved, the whistleblower scheme should not be exploited; it is impartial and should not be exploited.
With the example above, it can be seen that mishandling whistleblowing can lead to major consequences for an organisation's reputation.
In addition to a company's reputation, they can also lose both financial resources, as well as employees. If a workplace does not have a whistleblower scheme, employees may see no other option than to resign. Problems can grow and lack of resolution can lead to lack of employees.
Therefore, the introduction of a whistleblower scheme can only be recommended as it ensures a better working culture, a more positive workplace and transparency between employees.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.