Is whistleblowing a blessing or a curse?

– Conversation with Andrea Belényi –

When it comes to whistleblowing, the name Andrea Belényi comes to mind, which is no wonder, as Andrea has a long history of experience in designing and implementing corporate whistleblowing systems. She has assisted many companies in setting up their own whistleblowing systems, and has given lectures, presentations and training courses on the subject. Who else knows for sure whether the new legislation is a blessing or a curse?

What do you think is on people’s minds now about whistleblowing?

It definitely depends on the company. There are companies that are part of international groups or have business links with international companies, and there are smaller companies with more than 50 employees for whom it has now become mandatory to introduce a whistleblowing system. Larger companies, mainly with foreign parent companies or foreign business links, have already developed their own whistleblowing systems over the last 10-15 years and have already experienced the benefits of this system, which they see as a blessing, as a well-functioning whistleblowing system is a must for the credibility and reputation of the company. In smaller companies where the reporting system is being introduced, it is seen as more of an administrative burden and a nuisance. They don’t know what it’s for and why it is useful, and there is a lot of resistance to it. That is why I always begin my whistleblowing presentations by explaining why it is good and useful.

What are the advantages of a whistleblowing system?

Building such a system is good for both the company and for the employee. It’s good for the company because if employees or business partners report wrongdoing through this channel, the company itself has the opportunity to resolve the problem. It can keep the process of finding a solution in-house and not have to go to an external forum. Whistleblowing helps to maintain the reputation of the firm and is a major contributor to ethical behaviour. It encourages fairness, prevents financial losses and unnecessary litigation. On the other hand, the introduction of a whistleblowing system is also good for employees, who are able to work in a fair environment, monitor internal operations and feel that their word is taken seriously. It gives them the security of having a channel through which they can report any problems or disturbances, even anonymously, without fear of reprisals.

What do I need to look out for to make this system a real blessing?

The key is to build a system that is not only legal, but also tailored to the way the company operates. This requires focus on detail. Careful attention must be paid when gathering information, as it is possible that the information revealed by an internal investigation may later be used in legal proceedings. Legal safeguards need to be put in place to ensure the smooth functioning of the system and expert legal advice is also essential if an internal investigation is to be carried out. Our team is well prepared for this task: if a company has questions about whistleblowing or needs any help in setting up and running the process, we are happy to take on the task. We will do our utmost to ensure that our clients experience the introduction of the new legislation as a blessing in disguise.