A company with integrity and free from corruption is a more competitive company. According to Global Integrity Report 2020 of EY, the top three benefits obtained by companies that operate with integrity They are having a strong reputation (50%), attracting new clients and consumers (41%), as well as attracting and retaining the best talent (40%).
Let’s focus on this last point, the human capital. Today, competitive companies place a special focus on a friendly work environment, with no room for corruption, discrimination or other inappropriate behavior. Companies seeking to protect themselves from the above should know and listen to their employees. It is they, finally, who live and create the organizational culture.
As employees of a company we are interested in the recognition, respect and value of our work. At the same time, we seek a safe and complete workspace. To achieve this, companies have the option of making us co-authors of organizational change: being participants in a culture of denunciation where it is possible to report internally, and without fear of reprisals, acts of corruption and other irregularities.
The culture of denunciation it plays a central role in reducing internal riskier behaviors and in retaining talent that stands out for its success based on innovation and values; not in cheating or dishonesty. The companies that open space for the first group are, without a doubt, those with a vision for the future and internationally competitive.
At the center of any culture of reporting are channels, early warning systems that, as far as possible, are made available to employees. Recently, the IMCO published the second series of the Pillars of Integrity, which includes a guide where the desirable characteristics of these mechanisms are addressed. Accessibility, a non-retaliation policy, and proper due process are some of the issues to consider.
Accessibility consists of identifying the means necessary for our workforce: mailbox, email, forms or a telephone line. Those organizations that have these channels detect anomalies more frequently than those that report face-to-face (49% of the time versus 31%).
Establishing a policy of non-retaliation against whistleblowers is essential, especially when considering that among the main causes that inhibit the culture of denunciation there is the fear of being fired or harassed. This perception is higher in junior staff: globally, 42% of the staff junior reported fearing retaliation against him if he issued a complaint (EY).
Finally, an effective reporting culture is one in which every report or alert that is issued involves a rigorous investigation. It is not just a matter of automatically denouncing and punishing the accused, but of carrying out due process based on the presumption of innocence. The person denounced must be heard, his faults verified based on evidence, and the sanction, if warranted, proportional to the transgression committed.
At its most elemental level, business integrity It consists of dignifying the workspace, making it a safer place for each and every employee. This opens space for human capital that stands out not only for its skills, but also for its uprightness and ethical professionalism. In addition, a whole staff contributes to the creation of an innovative, efficient company based on a value proposition. We can all be witnesses and participants in this organizational change.
* The author is an IMCO researcher (@ MaxSantana94)