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Each year, NAVEX produces the Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report – a comprehensive assessment of trends in whistleblowing. This year, our analysis included 1.52 million reports across 3,430 organizations and is in use by many organizations to benchmark their compliance programs against peers and industry standards.

The findings in this report, which cover data from 2022, illuminate trends in hotline reporting and the overall cultural health of thousands of organizations across the globe. This post explores one of the key findings from this year’s benchmark, delving deeper into the 24 Issue Types and exploring some of the most common issue types and workplace stresses reported via company hotlines.

The NAVEX benchmark report findings found that a median of 53.8% of reports by an organization fell into the significant category of HR, Diversity & Inclusion and Workplace Respect, a slight increase from 50% in 2021. This shows that company culture and inclusivity are at the forefront of employees’ minds and should remain a critical area of focus for HR staff and executives.

In addition, a new Issue Type, Workplace Civility, previously captured under Other HR, has now been separated into another category. This Issue Type encompasses reports related to abusive or disrespectful behavior at work that are not counted as harassment or discrimination, such as bullying and abuse of power. This metric is critical to watch because it reflects the company’s cultural health and potentially measures employee mental health and overall well-being. The frequency of reports that fall into the Workplace Civility category increased to 6.9% in 2022 versus 6.4% in 2021. It was also the fourth most frequent Issue Type for reports overall.

Furthermore, in some cases, internal reporting systems serve as an emotional lifeline to employees. Many compliance programs view human resource matters, such as mental health, as “not compliance issues.” However, it may be time for companies to raise the profile of mental health matters within compliance programs. In addition, compliance departments should partner closely with human resource teams who are aware of the increase in mental health issues facing organizations.

The benchmark data also shows that the frequency of Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, Workplace Civility and Substance Abuse reports in 2022 all increased. When considering that the highest-frequency issue was Health and Safety reports – an Issue Type that includes the concerns of threat, assault, or violence – some organizations may have a serious red flag.

A more granular review revealed the impact of external employee priorities, events, and interactions. As did Product Quality and Safety, the frequency of Bribery and Corruption reports increased in 2022. Conflicts of Interest reporting dropped significantly but still stands in the top five. Data Privacy and Protection also made the top five and is expected to increase as consumers and regulators heighten their focus on data privacy.

Issue Type analysis by Substantiation Rate also allows for a more specific review. The frequency of substantiation of Political Activity reports fell from 46% to 17%, an interesting result considering 2022 was a mid-term election year in the United States. Workplace Civility held roughly steady at 45%. Substantiation Rates for issues categorized as Environment rose from 57% to 71%, showing that ESG and the environmental impact of businesses are becoming an increasing focus point.

In 2022, the five Issue Types representing the highest frequency of substantiation were: 

  • Global Trade: 76%
  • Imminent Threat to a Person or Property: 75%
  • Environment: 71%
  • Data Privacy and Protection: 68%
  • Misuse or Misappropriation of Assets: 67%
  • Health and Safety 65%

To learn how the online NAVEX E&C solution can help your company to manage its reports, set long-term goals and overcome compliance challenges, click here. You can also learn more about EU whistleblowing requirements and the EU Whistleblowers Protection Directive by downloading and watching our Latest News webinar here:

To read the full NAVEX 2023 Hotline and Incident Management Benchmark Report:

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