Five Reasons for Establishing a Good Speak-Up Culture

Five Reasons for Establishing a Good Speak-Up Culture

Research suggests that organisations that receive more whistleblower reports perform better financially. This might come as a surprise. After all, if there are a lot of reports there are likely to be a lot of problems, right?

It appears that the relationship between reports and results is different as one might expect at first sight. A lot of reports coming in often means that the whistleblowing procedure is well-known and trusted. This way many potential problems can be stopped or prevented early on. The organisation gets to be the first to respond if people report internally first.

Please bear in mind that, according to the new whistleblowing legislation, employees do not have to report internally first, they can also go straight to the authorities; when people report to the authorities first, then organisations do not have the chance to solve the problem first themselves.

Organisations with more reports are usually more on top of things and often have fewer problems with the supervisor, fewer fines and settlements, fewer lawsuits and thus lower costs for legal assistance and forensic support. The management has fewer lingering problems from the past to solve and is able to focus on the strategy and the future.

This does not only involve speak-up but also listen-up: listen to the signals coming from within the organisation and react in a fair and consistent way. This increases the trust in your organisation.

All together this will boost the reputation of your organisation, which will enable you to better attract highly skilled employees, the importance of which increases in the current economic circumstances. The next generations also seem to focus more on this than the previous ones, and of curse do not forget about your customers and suppliers, they also care a lot about your reputation.

Personally, I think that the biggest benefits may be in the sharing of crazy, creative ideas, which is possible in an open and safe culture. Or more constructive feedback on an idea, which will make the final product even better. This seems like a good subject for further research to me.

So, we should strive for the opposite of a culture of fear, where people try to hide problems, are restrained by non-disclosure clauses and barely dare to speak up.

Summing up, a safe, open speak-up culture will lead to:

– Fewer problems with the supervisor, fewer (high) fines, settlements and lawsuits
– Lower costs of legal and forensic support
– More time for the management to focus on the future instead of the past
– A better reputation, which will attract employees, customers and suppliers
– More and better creative ideas

Who doesn’t want that? Let’s unleash the power of a good speak-up culture!


Geert Vermeulen | EIMF International Expert


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