HR Management & Compliance

Hotlines—Find Out Before the Feds Do

Yesterday’s Advisor covered a variety of types of communications with employees; today, we’ll look at employee hotlines.

Your employee hotline is important for many reasons, but the primary one is that you want to hear employees’ concerns and complaints before their attorneys or a government agency does. It’s going to be easier—and less expensive—to resolve before outsiders get involved.

Other key factors include:

  • Anonymous for real. Employees must trust that the hotline is truly anonymous and that there will be no retaliation for using it.
  • Connected to trustworthy people. Employees must trust the people to whom hotline messages are delivered to maintain confidences and process responsibly.
  • Approved by management. Employees must believe that management will act when a complaint, allegation, or suggestion is made.

What Hotline Issues Does Your Hotline Encounter?

Personal issues

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Gambling
  • Financial
  • Relationship

Ethics issues

  • Irregularities in accounting
  • Dealings with vendors

Compliance issues

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Wage/Hour
  • Safety

General issues

  • Complaints
  • Suggestions

Evaluating Your Hotline Service

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NAVEX Global, the leading provider of employee hotlines, suggests that you take care to monitor and evaluate the calls that come in over the hotline.

Are calls distributed as you would expect?

Do they represent all levels in the company?
Are they reasonably spread by geography, department, and whatever makes sense for your organization?

A predominance of calls from one place or department could indicate a problem, whereas a lack of calls from a location could be good news—no problems of any kind—or bad news—people don’t trust the system, they don’t know about the system, they fear retaliation, or they are encouraged not to call.

What types of calls are coming in, inquiries or allegations? Are calls anonymous or from named individuals? NAVEX says that anonymous reporting is a good indicator of the level of employee trust in the system.

What is the substantiation rate, that is, how many allegations prove to be true or have a reasonable basis?

How are calls being handled? Is it clear to employees that the organization is responding to employee hotline calls seriously and in a reasonable amount of time?

Hotlines—just one of the many challenges HR managers face. From hiring to firing, HR’s never easy, and in a small department, it’s just that much tougher.

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1 thought on “Hotlines—Find Out Before the Feds Do”

  1. Hotlines have repeatedly been shown to be particularly effective for both detecting and deterring employee fraud.

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