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NAVEX Global’s 2023 Hotline and Incident Management Report

NAVEX Global always provides insightful and important whitepapers and annual reports.  One of the more important annual reports is NAVEX’s Hotline and Incident Management Report. Given Navex’s important position in the hotline and employee reporting industry, its annual report includes trends on employee reporting, substantiation rates, and categories of reporting.

NAVEX Global analyzes its vast database of ethics hotlines, totaling more than 1.52 million reports from 52 million employees around the world.

This year’s report includes several significant findings:

  • The survey revealed the highest median level of employee reports per 100 employees, 1.47, in the history of the report. Interestingly, at the same time, anonymous reporting increased to 56 percent.  This increase may reflect employee concern about retaliation, which is a continuing and significant problem.
  • Employee concerns about HR-related issues continue to dominate the issues raised.  However, a more focused review confirmed that civility concerns involving abusive behaviors are increasing.  Further, the data also showed that the frequency of harassment, discrimination, retaliation and substance abuse reports increased.  All of these issues point to threats to corporate cultures.
  • Organizations that track reports from all sources, not just the phone and web, are able to collect and analyze nearly twice as many reports.
  • Employees used telephone reporting systems more frequently than email, texting or other messaging services.  However, the substantiation rates for written reports submitted via the web were more often substantiated.  Substantiation rates for web reports was 39 percent compared to 33 percent for phone reports.

Corporate cultures are continuing to suffer from increasing retaliation rates.  Last year the frequency of retaliation reports increased from 0.78 percent to 0.96 percent.

The rise in workplace civility reports rom 6.4 percent to 6.9 percent in 2022 is disturbing.  It was the fourth most frequent issue for reports overall. Substantiation rates for workplace civility issues rose to 45 percent.

Some other issues of importance were identified from the substance of concerns raised: the frequency of bribery and corruption reports increased in 2022, as did product quality and safety.  Conflict of interest reporting dropped significantly, while data privacy and protection increased.

Global trade concerns were substantiated at the highest rate – 76 percent.  Imminent threat to a person or property came in second at 75 percent and environmental issues was third at 71 percent.

HR, Diversity and Workplace issues rose in 2022 from 50 percent to 53.8 percent.  Bribery and Integrity issues from 18.2 to 18.8 percent for the same periods.

The import of NAVEX Global’s findings confirm current trends we have identified that reflect real threats to corporate cultures. 

First, the rise of workplace civility issues reflects the growing work stresses and pressure on employees that have to be addressed.  When civility deteriorates, so does corporate culture.

Second, employee reporting increased notwithstanding the increase in retaliation rates – if retaliation continues to grow, then we may experience a significant reduction in employee reporting.

Finally, the NAVEX Global survey underscores (yet again) the importance of HR and Compliance cooperation and coordination.  Organizations cannot address these important trends when HR and Compliance are not working from the same page and leveraging their resources.

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