How to outsource your whistleblower hotline

A dedicated whistleblower hotline is a vital tool for increasing organizational trust and strengthening your speak-up culture

Phillip Winterburn, Principal, Product Marketing and Strategy, Ethics
May 20, 2022

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A dedicated whistleblower hotline is a key component of your compliance toolkit. Maintaining a hotline is mandatory under numerous international laws, and it can also be a vital tool for increasing organizational trust and strengthening your speak-up culture. Choosing the right provider is of the utmost importance.

When faced with a wide array of providers on the market, how can you be sure you’re not just choosing the right vendor for your industry and location, but one who’s aligned with your values and goals? Below, we’re unpacking the advantages of outsourcing your whistleblower hotline and how the right hotline vendor can increase your efficiency, effectiveness, and more.

Request a free Helpline and Case Management demo today.

Why you need a whistleblower hotline

When an employee suspects wrongdoing, a whistleblower hotline is ready to accept their report. Your hotline serves many purposes and can help your organization in numerous ways:

Comply with relevant international law

Depending on your location and industry, the corresponding regulations might mandate a whistleblower hotline and case management system, plus related policies and procedures. A recent study, directly links an increase in whistleblower report volume to a decrease in lawsuits and regulatory fines. Don’t risk costly fines or reputational damage by failing to comply with the nuances of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, OSHA requirements, the EU Whistleblower Protection Directive, Sapin II, or the whistleblowing requirements of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Increase confidence in your company culture

A hotline supports a healthy speak-up culture by demonstrating organizational commitment to compliance and your corporate values. If your values and culture are firmly anchored in transparency, consistency, and accountability, then employees will feel empowered to speak up and report wrongdoing. The mutual trust that comes from an empowered workforce, trusting your hotline and reporting process, will directly benefit your organization

What are the advantages of outsourcing your whistleblower hotline? 

If you’re still managing whistleblower hotline reports using spreadsheets and manual emails, you’re not just increasing your busywork and limiting your scope, you’re missing out on a whole world of data and reporting possibilities. The right vendor is more than just a third-party business partner; they’re an integrated case manager, statistician, investigator, data and security officer, and a legal scholar. No matter the size and scope of your ethics and compliance team, a trusted whistleblower hotline vendor can maximize your efficiency, enrich your data and reporting operation, and back you up if regulators ever come knocking.

The right vendor treats whistleblowers as humans throughout the time it takes for them to submit their report and has a user-friendly admin experience in the case management module. It integrates with HRIS systems and other compliance modules, making it easy to connect whistleblowing reports with other key sources of information like conflicts of interest or unreported retaliation (ex: a whistleblower’s pay is stagnant for several years running, but they don’t report retaliation. With automated reminders from your case management system, the compliance team can check-in and see the negative impact to their pay). Finally, the right vendor stays on top of regulatory changes and updates their product as necessary.

In-house hotline pitfalls

Building your whistleblower hotline in-house is an uphill climb, even for the most ambitious E&C department. Even if you’re fully staffed with passionate and dedicated staffers, regulations are constantly evolving, system updates and upgrades are labor and time-intensive, and any issues that come up contain the potential to derail your entire operation without a dedicated engineering team ready to address them. An in-house hotline might falter upon close examination by regulators, not quite measuring up to anonymity requirements or language provisions. In-house hotlines suffer from both lower reporting rates, due to friction in the reporting process, and from the intense pressure to close cases efficiently. Don’t risk the common pitfalls of an in-house hotline; find the right partner and supercharge your efforts.

Increased efficiency and effectiveness with the right whistleblower hotline vendor  

Choosing the right whistleblower hotline vendor can result in a significant return on investment through improved efficiency and effectiveness. On average, OneTrust Helpline and Case Management customers see a 57% higher reporting rate than average industry benchmarks. Additionally, our customers see a 48% faster case resolution, based on a comparison of our own customer data against published ethics and compliance benchmarks. By increasing your whistleblower hotline’s efficiency, the ability to take in more cases, and closing cases faster, your hotline and case management could surface any significant problems before any massive fines or reputational damage.

Effective case management scales with your organization and keeps pace with you, as your workforce and reporting volume increase. Industry leading whistleblower hotlines and case managers support smart escalations, rules and auto routing, root cause analysis, draw role-specific inferences based on responsibilities, required preventative actions, and focused training and communications. Your hotline and case manager can also support your compliance initiatives by supporting international data privacy requirements, minimizing potential breaches before they happen.

Whether your organization is a global enterprise with thousands of employees or a growing start-up, provide a whistleblower hotline that meets your employees where they’re at 24/7/365. Our dedicated call center agents, trained in an empathetic approach, are ready to receive calls in your reporters’ native language. Our tailored user experience allows reporters to focus on sharing their story, first and foremost, rather than being immediately challenged with a barrage of questions.

Request a free Helpline and Case Management demo today.

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