Five Do’s and Dont’s of a Misconduct Reporting Programme

Our business sense tells us that ‘experience’ is a valuable commodity when making decisions. When it comes to misconduct reporting systems and processes this rarely exists prior to establishing such a process. 

Do’s & Dont’s for reporting misconduct

Do: Ensure that clear communication on the misconduct reporting process has been sent out by the CEO supporting the policy and the rationale behind it.

Don’t: Regardless of the communication from the CEO, don’t assume that the process will be universally supported. Countless repetition, patience and above all tact are required when dealing with business units.

Do: Ensure that the process is supported by copious communication emails, flyers, posters and internet pages. It is not possible to over-expose when it comes to this.

Don’t: Become the judge and jury for complaints. Establish a clearing house for reports, have them professionally investigated and then follow your current disciplinary process to review the investigations’ findings.

Do: Recognise that culturally your business is diverse and that complaints may flow more efficiently from some parts than from others due to cultural norms. Embrace this diversity and do not penalise low reporting areas openly to senior management unless you know the facts.

Don’t: Spend the early part of the process analysing the outcomes or origins of cases or, for that matter, the perceived “root causes” of misconduct. Allow the process to be managed effectively first before beginning to analyse.

Do: Hire the right people to review and interact with complainants. A third party company that handles initial reporting is key to impartiality. Once the complaint has arrived, an appropriate review to determine the next steps is crucial. Emotional intelligence, knowledge of the business and leadership are required in this role.

Don’t: Assume you can manage the process on a spreadsheet. Start your process with the knowledge that it will grow by 50% (in total complaints) from year one through year two. Keep appropriate records to ensure that Data Protection and Privacy issues are maintained.

Do: Make constant reviews and adjustments of the process dependent on your findings, regardless of whether they are in year one or year five. Keep an open-mind about improvements and be flexible.

Don’t: Categorise initial complaints as “urgent” or “immediate action”, such labels will only come back to haunt you later if you have not acted as the labels suggest. All initial complaints should be handled the same. Only when the investigation has begun, and facts are known, can you classify correctly and inform appropriate management should the need arise.

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