Carrie Penman on Helpline Data Since the Pandemic [Podcast]


Post By: Adam Turteltaub

NAVEX Global recently released its 2021 Risk & Compliance Incident Management Benchmark Report.  It is a document rich in data about what’s going on with helplines and incident management.

To understand lessons learned from the data we invited Carrie Penman, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer from NAVEX, to join us.

She reports that there is finally an answer to a question many have wondered: what has the pandemic’s impact been on helpline call volume. Interestingly, Carrie reports that overall call volume declined. April and May 2020 saw the steepest drops, not surprisingly since that was the time when businesses were closing quickly and employees were adjusting. But, she points out, it was not just a two-month phenomenon. Even at the end of 2020 volume had not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Drilling down into the data there were significant variations by industry, with differences caused by whether organizations had switched to a work-from-home mode or had large number of essential workers still on the job site.

But what about the quality of the calls? Carrie reports that the substantiation rate of 42% was in line with previous years.

There was one exception, though: environmental health & safety. Substantiation rates were lower, and the number of reports increased substantially, likely due to COVID-19 related concerns.

Interestingly, 76% of EH&S reports were anonymous vs. just 54% of business integrity claims, most likely not out of fear but because complaints about things like not wearing a mask where a call back was not likely necessary.

The report also includes news that the median days between incident observed and reported increased from 21 to 28 days. That’s troubling for investigators given that memories fade over time.

Finally, we discuss the perennial concern about whether anonymous reports can be trusted. The data showed that anonymous reports were substantiated at a much lower rate: just 35% vs. 50% of reports with a name attached

Listen in to learn more, including some potentially troubling numbers about retaliation.