Career Woman

How to encourage employees to report fraud and misconduct


With the #metoo movement, there has been much focus on workplace misconduct, and women entrepreneurs and business owners are likely wondering how they can encourage their own employees to feel more comfortable reporting not only workplace misconduct but also fraud and unethical behavior.

There are not just issues related to audits and regulatory compliance that surround the importance of reporting fraud and misconduct in the workplace.

It’s also a matter of corporate culture. You want your employees to feel like they work in a safe, supportive environment and like they can come forward if they see something that makes them uncomfortable or they feel is inappropriate, so as a business owner or leader, how can you do that?

Train company leaders on whistleblower protections

It’s important that everyone within an organization, and in particular those people with leadership roles, be fully aware of all whistleblower protections available to employees legally.

There are a variety of federal and state laws that guide how whistleblowers are to be treated in the workplace, and it’s not just you as a business owner or executive who needs to be aware of these.

Your managers and employees need to be regularly trained on these laws and how they’re applied.

You should also train your employees so that they know what their options are and that your business takes whistleblower protection seriously.

The most successful businesses in terms of having employees report misconduct and fraud are often the ones that make them aware of what their options are.

Publicize your efforts

Employees may know there are whistleblower protections available, but they might not know how seriously it’s taken unless your business makes an effort to publicize it.

You want employees to know that it’s something that’s not just encouraged but taken seriously.

Offer many reporting options

Every employee is going to be different in terms of what they’re comfortable with if they are reporting something they see as inappropriate or suspicious, so it’s important to offer options for everyone.

Put in place many different options for employees to come forward and share what they’ve seen including a web portal, an email address, or even an old-fashioned suggestion box.

You should make sure at least a few of your reporting options are available at any time of day or night, to encourage employees who are uncomfortable coming forward at work to do so even outside of work hours.

Outline your anti-retaliation policy

Your company’s policy against retaliation should not just be something you inform employees of and train them on, but also something that’s clearly written down and leaves no room for gray areas.

It should be a main component of your company’s code of conduct, and it needs to be clear that no retaliation will be tolerated at any level within the business.

You have to make it clear to your employees that you will protect them if they come forward with a legitimate concern, and making sure your employees trust that’s the case is so important to maintain a culture of ethics, compliance, and integrity.

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