Complaints about harassment, discrimination, retaliation and substance abuse in the workplace are on the increase, with more employees than ever filing incident reports. That’s according to data from 52 million employees across 3,430 organizations and 1.52 million reports.
The findings are published in the new 2023 Hotline & Incident Management Benchmark Report, which is published annually by regulatory technology company Navex. The report details an all-time high median level of 1.47 reports per 100 employees, and shows that 21% of all organizations received five or more reports per 100 employees.
“Data is at the heart of making smart decisions about risk management and spotting potential problems throughout the organization. This is particularly important for issues affecting workplace culture,” said AG Lambert, the company’s chief product officer.
Nearly 54% of reports were about diversity and workplace respect. The findings also disclosed an increase in concerns about workplace civility involving abusive or disrespectful behavior, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and substance abuse.
More anonymous reports
The number of anonymous reports rose, 56% of the total analyzed, up from 50% last year. This suggests those reporting are exercising greater caution and are potentially more concerned about the nature of what is being reported.
“In contrast to a year of seemingly emboldened whistleblowing during 2021’s Great Resignation, 2022 incident and reporting data suggest a more cautious workforce in a period of greater economic uncertainty. With higher levels of reporting, fewer named reports and a strong focus on workplace culture issues, a picture emerges where reporters may be less confident in their external job prospects and more invested in the long-term dynamics of their current organizational cultures,” the report states.
Environmental, health and safety reporting (67% of those analyzed) was the area in which the majority of the anonymous reports were received, while the category of ‘misuse or misappropriation of assets’ saw the biggest year-on-year rise – up to 64% from 38% in 2022. However, bribery and corruption saw a decrease, with anonymous reports dropping from 36% to 24% in 2022.
With higher levels of reporting, fewer named reports and a strong focus on workplace culture issues, a picture emerges where reporters may be less confident in their external job prospects and more invested in the long-term dynamics of their current organizational cultures.
Other key findings about 2022 reporting trends were:
- People prefer to talk live about incidents, for instance on telephone helplines, but written reports are more likely to be substantiated.
- Written reports were the most common type submitted (39%), which could be a result of the increase in hybrid working.
- Smaller organizations have higher reporting rates, while larger organizations experienced the highest level of anonymous reports.
- More than half the organizations analyzed have a median case closure time of under 30 days, with the largest having the shortest case closure times.
- A median of 18% cases closed on the same day they were received indicates that a case classified as “closed” for compliance reasons may not be considered closed by the organization, because the statistic includes cases forwarded to a different department and resolved prior to complete resolution.
Bribery and corruption
Reports about bribery and corruption increased last year, as did product quality and safety reports. Reporting on conflicts of interest dropped significantly, but this category remains in the top five, along with data privacy and protection.
Global trade (76%) topped the list of the biggest five issue types with the highest frequency of substantiation, followed by imminent threat to a person or property, environment, data privacy and protection, and misuse or misappropriation of assets.