Skip to content

Whistleblowing – still a dangerous activity

Against a backdrop of financial and geo-political challenges, more employees would consider dishonest actions than just 2 years ago. Just short of 40% of all of those surveyed – and 2/3 of board members – said they were willing to behave unethically to improve their career or financial position. This is more than one-and-a-half times higher than two years ago.

EY Whistleblowing survey

It’s not a case of if, but when…

The increase in global businesses adopting whistleblowing processes is growing exponentially as regulators force firms to comply.

But that’s only half the story.

More employees say they will act dishonestly to secure personal gain and less people are prepared to report those transgressions. More people fear retaliation for blowing the whistle so just don’t do it.

What’s the solution?

Clearly, with statistics saying more employees are prepared to commit dishonest acts, it is obvious that can impact the company they work for negatively. The volume of corporate scandals, not always with large or global firms, is growing. It is imperative firms of all sizes consider adopting a system to allow reports internally that are anonymous. This is more likely to encourage reporting and allow the firm to control the narrative of that messaging before it goes public. It buys time for the firm to investigate and deal in private with any transgression without impacting the firm’s brand or reputation negatively.

Rather deal inhouse than on Facebook

As Gen Z become a more dominant force in the workforce, the risks with their culture become more evident.

“Issues near and dear to Gen Z come to the fore here, like sustainability, diversity and inclusion. These topics also resonate strongly in today’s work cultures. Gen Z will be the most diverse generation and they’ve been raised with issues like social justice and sustainability top of mind,” says Shields. “They care about how others are treated and diverse representation, and they expect transparency into company practices, especially those related to fairness.”

Katy Shields VSCO – People and Places Lead.

Companies that think these issues will not impact them are not reading the room. Most senior executives and business owners are baby boomers and older. They don’t think like a Gen Z employee and sowon’t consider the fact that generation are much more likely to challenge unethical corporate behaviour, much more likely to report discrimination and unfair treatment, and much more likely to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and more.

Companies can only escape this by providing to report internally and ensuring those reports are managed effectively to support the workforce. Those that don’t will be appearing on a social media channel near you soon.

Protect Your Brand – Protect Your Reputation