Insights from the 2020 NAVEX Global Hotline and Incident Management Report

NAVEX Global produces a number of valuable compliance reports.  Aside from its annual Third-Party Risk Management Report, NAVEX Global’s Hotline and Incident Report is always valuable given its leadership role in the hotline and incident management industry.

The NAVEX Global Report is based on 2019 data before the pandemic occurred. Nonetheless, the insights are helpful and provide important insights that can be applied in a post-pandemic time. If anything, employee engagement and reporting is even more important during this transition to a safe and healthy workplace. Companies have to embrace and encourage employee reporting — it is even more important in today’s world.

NAVEX Global has access to the largest database from its 3255 hotline and incident management system customers.  To prepare its current report, NAVEX Global analyzed its data (on an anonymous basis) for 2019.  In total, NAVEX Global analyzed 1.4 million reports, most of which were generated in the United States.

Reporting Rate:  The report rate per employee remained stable at 1.4 per employee.  Over the last four years, this rate has been relatively stable. 

While the overall average rate is stable, NAVEX Global noted two interesting observations: (1) 19 percent of companies are receiving much higher rates – 5 or more reports per 100 employees; and (2) companies that tracked reports outside of hotline and web-based reporting systems experienced 100 percent more reports than those that were based on hotline and web-based reporting systems.

The second point deserves further analysis –  I have long advocated expanding data reporting systems to include reports outside the web-based and hotline reporting avenues.  An accurate incident reporting system has to include walk-in reports, and employee reports to supervisors.  By limiting data to hotline and web-based reports, organizations are ignoring an important source of information and insights.

Companies should capture all incident data because of the valuable insights that can be generated from this information.  A centralized, holistic database provides valuable insights to a company’s culture and employee concerns.  Such an approach provides valuable insights and encourage cooperation among important functions – HR, security, and compliance.

Case Closure Time: The time to close a case increased 13 percent from an average of 40 to 45 days.  The increase in case closure times reflects a significant issue where companies are not prioritizing timely resolution of employee reports or a lack of resources.  Interestingly, a fifth of the reporting companies maintained an average of 100 days or more to close cases.

#MeToo Reporting:  In the second year since the beginning of the #MeToo movement in late 2017, the reporting rate of harassment complaints fell from 5.46 percent to 4.81 percent.  The explanation for this decrease is not obvious.  There are a variety of possible explanations – organizations have improved their cultures and reduced underlying harassment conduct or reporters have found no improvement in corporate responses and therefore are less likely to report concerns.

Time to Report:  NAVEX Global’s report found that 31 percent of reporters report a concern in nine (9) of less days after ban incident has occurred.  And, in a surprising statistic, NAVEX Global noted that 20 percent of reports occurred 60 days or more after the incident. 

The long times for reporting may reflect a corporate culture where fear of retaliation is significant or employees are not aware of reporting avenues.  Whatever the explanation, this is trend that should be watched – delays in reporting can have serious consequences to an organization.

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