Carrie Penman on the Latest Helpline Trends [Podcast]

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Adam Turteltaub PhotoPosted by Adam Turteltaub

The Navex 2022 Risk & Compliance Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report provides a fascinating look into what’s going on in compliance in general and how employees are using helplines specifically.

The 2021 report had illuminating insight into the impact of the pandemic. To learn what is in the data from the latest report, we again sat down with Carrie Penman, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer from NAVEX.

This year’s report, which covers data from 2021, revealed four key trends, she reports:

  1. Whistleblowers are more emboldened. They are more likely to use their names, rather than remaining anonymous, when making a report. Viewed against the SEC’s reported near doubling of leads to the Office of the Whistleblower, it’s clear that workers are more willing than ever to come forward. What is unclear is why the change. It may be due to employees feeling that it would be easy to find another job if they were retaliated against.
  2. Reports of retaliation have increased. The question here is whether retaliation has increased or employees are more willing to report it. One theory is that employees are much more attuned to issues of workplace civility.
  3. COVID continues to have an impact. While the number of calls to helplines has increased, they are still below pre-COVID levels.
  4. ESG related reporting is notably low. This may be due to employees not fully understanding ESG, or believing that those issues don’t need to be brought to compliance or the helpline. In both cases, more training may help affect the numbers

Finally, looking to the future, Carrie anticipates the possible recession leading to turmoil.  Fear levels rise when layoffs occur, and people see less opportunities to find new work. Managers may place excessive pressure on employees to make the numbers, despite the economy.

All of these factors could lead to a great deal of work for compliance teams, and a very different report for 2023.