Employers should review messaging and training around whistleblowing policies: Freshfields survey

More than four in 10 managers report being involved in whistleblowing

Employers should review messaging and training around whistleblowing policies: Freshfields survey

More managers around the world want the identity of a whistleblower revealed, with 63 per cent in favour globally, according to a recent survey.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has unveiled its new global survey which confirms that whistleblowing, and the promotion of a strong speak-up culture, continues to be a hot topic for businesses across continents. With whistleblowing in the spotlight, global businesses need the right policies and processes in place to deliver an effective speak-up culture and support employees.

The data showed increased involvement in whistleblowing overall since 2020, with more than four in 10 respondents reporting being involved in whistleblowing in some form. Less than half of respondents felt that the ‘average employee’ at their company would know what to do should a whistleblowing incident occur, raising the importance of effective procedures and awareness of them.

Knowing the identity of the whistleblower is important to more people globally than it was in 2020, with more than six in 10 respondents in favour versus 50 percent last time around. The most notable shift in attitudes came from the US, with 81 percent raising the importance of identifying the whistleblower – a significant increase from just a quarter of respondents in 2020.

Training initiatives continue to be important to support employees, with one quarter of people feeling that managers were not properly trained on speak-up procedures. This was most likely to be the case in France, where almost two in three respondents believed managers were not properly equipped to deal with personnel issues of this sort.

A majority (85 percent) of respondents felt that remote and hybrid working practices have had a long-term impact on whistleblowing, while 29 percent said that agile working practices had resulted in less whistleblowing because they were less likely to see or hear issues.

“Our latest research demonstrates that having a robust framework for whistleblowing and compliance in business should be prioritised by clients across sectors,” said Freshfields’ people & reward partner Holly Insley. “The rise of whistleblowing laws around the world, coupled with heightened regulatory scrutiny, means whistleblowing is a topic that is staying top of C-suite agendas. It’s critical that organisations provide clear messaging on policies and reporting routes, and proactively raise awareness with colleagues to prevent reputational and financial risk later down the line.”

The firm gathered the views of more than 2,500 managers, across various levels of seniority and responsibility in large companies and 13 industries in the UK, US, Hong Kong, Germany and France.

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