The reporting systems that are used by a business must be extremely flexible in nature so that they can cater to both the local culture as well as what the laws state. The US Sentencing guidelines also recommend that every company should try to build systems that offer the greatest possible flexibility. But how can this be achieved? Here is a look at some suggestions that are not only flexible, but extremely effective as well, and will probably be approved by the relevant authorities across the world.
Design a reporting system that complements direct reporting methods but does not serve as a complete replacement for them
Every business should train several employees and publicize many job functions. For instance the supervisors and other business specialists can be assigned the duties of reporting any wrongdoings that are observed about the workplace or anything that seems to contrast with business ethics. However, prior to this, they must be given the required training. Similarly the staff should also be educated so that they understand that all reporting systems are meant to act as a backup when the direct communication means become unavailable. This can happen when there is a management breakdown or when a culprit tries to hide his footsteps.
Leave anonymous reporting methods for serious issues; the rest of the complaints must be open and liberal
Every company must ascertain that their employees understand that the reporting system has not been implemented for minor issues that can easily be handled in staff meetings, talks with supervisors and other conventional means. Moreover, the companies should also identify behaviors for which anonymous reporting systems can be used, and should make sure that their employees are aware of it. As an example, these systems can be used for serious issues such as records modifications and bribery, whereas other trivial issues can easily be reported through any other forum.
All those employees which use anonymous reporting systems to file their complaints do so because they are embarrassed or fear that their supervisors or the culprits would retaliate. Thus the management must make sure that all the privileges which they offer in this regard are actually provided to the employee, and not just mentioned in the rules book.
Transparency leads to trust which results in better relationships between all the individuals associated with a business. At all the levels, the employees might have fears associated with an individual who tries to mar a reputation or with a person which is avoiding dismissal. The management also has fears and believes that reporting systems might encourage employees to directly approach their heads first without trying to handle the complaints by themselves.
All these concerns can be addressed if the designers of the reporting system are specific about the means with which they protect anonymity and the methods with which they maintain confidentiality.
Whether the severity of the complaint is less or more, the management should respond to it quickly so that employees become aware that their concerns are also important and are addressed immediately.