The Dalai Lama once said, “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” No doubt, when employees lack trust their productivity and engagement suffer. Whether employees have a concern, issue or violation to report, the only solution is to keep the communication lines open. One of those communication lines used to be 1-800 numbers employees had to dig out of an employee handbook. Today, anonymous reporting platforms make it much easier for employees to come forward while giving organizations better tools to confidentially listen to and safely engage them. What’s more, today’s anonymous reporting platforms empower HR and ER to track and resolve these issues all in one place.
When is an Employee Hotline the Right Choice?
Regardless of industry, employee hotlines are powerful tools to increase transparency, build trust with employees and prevent problems from escalating. Organizations can listen more effectively and proactively address sensitive issues that often go unreported when restricted to non-anonymous methods.
As valuable as they are, employee hotlines do have limitations. For example, if an employee hotline doesn’t accurately collect follow-up data about the reporting team member, ER may not be able to gather enough information to make a fully informed decision. When that happens, issues may go unresolved. Look for a platform that allows your team to capture the necessary details and communicate with the right people while keeping contact information completely anonymous.
It’s important to note that employee hotlines are not the same as ethics hotlines. Ethics hotlines are specifically designed for whistleblowers to report suspected violations of ethical or compliance regulations such as fraud. Employee hotlines cover a broader range of concerns from HR-related issues to conflicts between coworkers, to performance complaints.
How Does an Employee Hotline Boost Employee Relations?
Giving employees a space to feel heard and safely dialogue is bound to improve employee relations, engagement and overall satisfaction. Examples of improvement include better relationships between levels of management, better risk mitigation and a stronger workplace culture marked by transparency and collaboration.
Best Practices For Implementing an Employee Hotline:
Effective hotlines are built around best practices. If you’re implementing a hotline, follow these:
Ask questions that won’t compromise the employee’s identity.
HR or ER team members should be the only personnel who can view data submitted through the hotline or reporting system. Establish strict procedures around how questions are asked to ensure they reveal facts without inviting unnecessary verbal hints about a person’s identity. HR employees could inadvertently blow someone’s cover discussing potentially sensitive information over the lunch table.
Don’t allow a free for all.
Relying solely on employees to report issues through a hotline can leave you vulnerable to abuse. Sometimes, a fully anonymous complaints system leaves the door open for biased, false and possibly malicious accusations. Make sure the platform you use has tracking and analytics to help you spot abuse.
Be open to continuous improvement.
As markets change and technology advances, company success often depends on the ability to adapt and constantly improve to meet demand. While this may seem obvious, too many organizations change customer-facing technology but let internal facing systems lag behind. Keep an open mind to new ideas and explore fresh technology that can keep up with evolving workplace cultures and challenges.
Make it easy to use.
A long, confusing workflow will discourage employees from reporting. Make sure you choose a platform designed to make employees feel safe and comfortable. It should be extremely easy to use while still supporting a thorough data capture.
Encourage employees to use the platform.
People use tools they have confidence in. Make the employee hotline a regular part of all onboarding and training sessions and when appropriate, add it to communications from leadership. If employees understand how the platform works and they know it’s supported by your leadership, they’ll be more likely to not only use it, but use it properly.
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How HR Acuity and Employee Relations Software Can Help
Technology is an integral part of HR and ER systems, and most organizations expect technology to help keep employee information safe and confidential while still allowing for relevant data collection and analysis. This is why it’s important to choose a supportive, reliable anonymous employee workplace reporting platform like HR Acuity’s Speakfully that causes minimal disruption to employee workflow and can be easily integrated with existing HR systems.
One such system is your case management software. Almost 50% of organizations are now storing investigation documents and other employee relations data in a single central location, and the number is growing. Reaping the benefits of an automated, intelligent case management system can dramatically reduce the time spent on administrative tasks, which enables ER and HR professionals to concentrate on resolving cases faster and more efficiently.