In case you missed it, we hosted a webinar on March 2 with industry experts Autumn Sanelli and Keith Read discussing the importance of an effective case management program. It was an engaging hour, and we thank everyone who had the opportunity to join us. For those who missed the session, here’s a recap of what was discussed.
The interactive session provided compliance executives insight into:
Secret shopping is a concept that compliance should use more effectively. Often times, we find compliance officers in varied industries struggle to come up with KPIs for their compliance program. Leveraging a simple but effective secret shopping template will help you identify gaps, areas to retrain — all while gathering data to test and measure performance.
“How far would you go in terms of testing your compliance program using the mystery shopping approach?” – Keith Read, Former CCO, British Telecom
Expert Tip: Give your hotline a call and pose as an employee reporting an incident. It could be one of the most eye-opening calls you have all year.
What do you do with all the information once you have it? How do you organize it? How do you follow through with a consistent investigative process to make sure you are reaching sound conclusions and looping around with any appropriate follow-ups to assure future instances don’t occur?
Here are some general stages of conducting investigations when establishing a flow. Remember you don’t need to get too detailed or granular; you want it to be a fluid and dynamic process. You want to have some set of guidelines so your investigators are consistently following through with the same process each time regardless of the incident type.
Provide your investigators wiggle room so that they can use their intuitive nature to direct the investigation.
• You need to have a documents process/guideline (this is crucial!)
• It has to be structured, yet generalized
• Not enough to have a process, must follow it consistently
• Document: how complaints are received, how they are assigned, timelines, general steps/stages, follow-up
• Establish a good faith investigation
• Have a case manager that has a central repository for a comprehensive view into analyzing the information you’re gathering
Every organization has a “no retaliation policy” but the problem lies in it being an idle policy at best. How do you make it an actionable policy?
Take a set of data that you should have at your fingertips. When you think of retaliation you may look at how many claims of retaliation you may have, you may talk to management, etc. When you are anecdotal when you’re looking at retaliation situations it’s very easy to come to a conclusion that retaliation is not existing – of course, no one would never retaliate, that’s not the kind of company we have, not the kind of ethics and values we have — but when you can put it in qualitative numbers it’s difficult to argue against that. Using this analysis, you can get the output you need to determine effective metrics to judge where retaliation occurs in your organization and how to mitigate incidents no matter if it’s “soft” or “hard” retaliation.
Indicators that can signal retaliation can be:
• Annual performance reviews
• Disciplinary actions
• Career progression
The data is available. It’s not perfect, but you know a number of people who have blown the whistle, which leads to retaliation and anti-retaliation policies, and you can draw down some or all of HR data, etc. Start small with 10-15 analyses and start to see what stands out. Start gaining insight on if your policy is working and where you can improve it by using this simple analysis.
Effective communication is key to compliance
There are only three ways you can communicate with people: direct (i.e. email about compliance), indirect (i.e. posters or manager communication) and subliminal. How can you improve best practice in communications?
Nudge theory is a concept in behavioral science, political theory and economics which argues that positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to try and achieve non-forced compliance can influence the motives, incentives and decision-making of groups and individuals, at least as effectively, then direct instruction, legislation or enforcement.
A trial with the Courts Service in London showed how personalized text messages were six times more effective than final warning letters at prompting fine payments. These messages saved thousands in bailiff interventions and millions of dollars when fully implemented.
Where in your organization can you incorporate the nudge theory to budge compliance forward?
1. Our company has an anonymous hotline, but appreciate Autumn’s point that we should be “following up” with the associate making the report so that making a report is encouraged; any recommendations on how to handle this? Again, the employee wants to remain anonymous so I’m not sure how.
This depends on how your hotline is structured. If you have an internally run hotline, often times that leads to some kind of voicemail and so there is no avenue for follow-up. We recommend if you’re a publically traded company there are Sarbanes-Oxley requirements for an externally managed third-party hotline. Most hotline providers that link up to a case management system allow for those anonymous reports. The advantage of using a hotline that links up to a system like that is when the individual makes their report whether it’s through a call center, contacting a phone number or making a web report, it would then be provided with a unique access number and password so they can re-access that report at any time and continue to communicate with the organization while still maintaining that level of anonymity. In the absence of that functionality, you are going to be in a difficult situation to leverage that kind of follow-up. Encourage on the front-end that if you do choose to remain anonymous, we will not be able to follow-up with you at any point in time so employees know where that lies and setting that expectation up front. Best practice is getting a system in place that allows for the functionality we mentioned earlier.
2. How did you determine the data points when evaluating retaliation and where does one start?
To be honest, I thought about what would be the indicators of retaliation. There was no precedent for this – nothing I could look at or research — I chose four or five markers such as pay raises, performance reviews, bonuses; I also looked at career progression. I was able to track individuals against their peers so see if there was a substantial difference between what the whistleblower had gone through versus what other people experienced over the same period. Those four or five indicators, to a degree to what institutional relation was going on. Doing this analysis gets the message the organization is serious about retaliation and opens up channels for employees to report retaliation. This helped us reduce retaliation overall.
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