Is this something that you are afraid of? Will whistleblowing kill your career?

Whistleblowing is that act of an employee passing on information concerning wrongdoing of someone in his or her office. Wrongdoing may be defined as misconduct, illegal acts, fraud or failure to act during the course of one’s employment and typically witnessed by the whistle-blower at work.

Generally, whistle-blowers are righteous individuals who act in the best interest of their employers to protect malpractices in the workplace from happening. By doing so, these individuals help to uphold the integrity and honest culture in the organization.

As an employer, it is good practice to create an open, transparent and safe working environment where employees can speak up freely. By having clear whistleblowing policies and procedures in place, it demonstrates an employer’s commitment to listening to the concerns of workers and welcomes information being brought to the attention of management.

Some organizations choose to publicize their policy via their intranet or through a staff handbook given to new employees when they join the company. Providing regular training at all levels of an organization on the effective implementation of whistleblowing arrangements will help to develop a supportive and open culture.

Blowing the whistle takes a lot of courage, and doing the right thing does not necessarily mean that the right thing would happen to you. In some circumstances, it may kill your career. According to a research done by a UK law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, in 2017, 55% of business managers would avoid whistleblowing at work for fear of losing their jobs or damaging their own career prospects.

On the flip side, it is also not uncommon for employees to mistakenly believe that they are blowing the whistle when, in fact, their complaint is about a personal grievance. In this case, employers must be discerning and to verify such complaint to be valid and true so the wrongdoers can be taken to task.

So, the next time you witnessed wrongdoing, how would you respond?