Without compliance metrics, you are driving blind. Driving with poor vision might get you to your destination, but you likely won’t take the best route, and you certainly have some dings in your car from the bumpy ride. For compliance professionals, metrics provide a critical view of their program. To ensure you are driving with clear optics, let’s review the essential whistleblower metrics your program should be measuring.
Measuring the results of your whistleblower program and optimizing your processes over time are critical to success. You can build the best whistleblower and case management process for your company, but if you fail to measure what actually happens once the process is live, you could miss out on major optimization opportunities and inadvertently add additional risk.
Aligning the industry around common metrics has been a longstanding challenge, somewhat because no two compliance programs are the same. All programs have unique variables to take into account, but working towards a common set of metrics has the power to elevate all compliance programs by establishing industry standards.
So let’s review the whistleblower hotline and case management elements you should measure. Does your program capture all of these metrics?
Important Whistleblower Metrics
Cases Over Time
One of the most basic, but fundamental, whistleblower metrics is a chart of cases reported over time. Seeing this data displayed can provide insight into the seasonality of cases or explain a spike in reports after a certain event. Looking at cases reported over time can also inform organizations if their program is working. Remember, more cases being reported is not a bad thing. Oftentimes, it means your employees are prioritizing ethics and feel comfortable speaking up. Although a downward trend in cases reported may seem like the compliance program is working, it can also mean that employees are not embracing a culture of compliance.
Cases by Geography and Department
Ensure you are tracking the total numbers of cases submitted by location, business unit, country, and department. All of these factors can help illuminate trends in the organization and provide you with the necessary insights to make critical adjustments to your program. For example, if a specific region or team begins reporting incidents at a higher rate it could be a smoke signal of poor training or a larger corruption issue at hand.
Analyze the number of anonymous vs non-anonymous reports. This metric can provide insight into the culture of your organization. For instance, if the majority of your cases are reported anonymously, it might indicate that employees are wary of speaking up and fear retaliation. Although there is not a direct correlation, this should be one factor you take into consideration when looking at the broader culture of compliance.
Compare the total number of cases submitted via a reporting hotline vs online channels vs in-person reports (or any other reporting channels you might deploy). Having a deep understanding of where employees go to report wrongdoing can inform you broadly about trust throughout the organization. A channel breakdown can also tell you which channels are easiest for employees to navigate. Take the time to see if there are regional or departmental trends here as well. Do employees from certain geographical areas tend to report via one channel over the others? This could give you a better understanding of the subcultures or regional cultures within your organization. Understanding the most (and least) popular reporting channels can be a fascinating whistleblower metric.
Case Management Insights
Looking at a breakdown of case management metrics by the investigator is a useful exercise. As with any human-led process, there will be variation. Your job is to make sure that the variation between how cases are handled is within a tolerable range. Be sure to analyze the number of open and closed cases assigned to each investigator as well as how many cases each investigator is managing.
Investigations Per Case
It’s good to have an understanding of the number of investigations that happen per case. On average, how many investigations need to occur per case before it is substantiated or closed? This is a time management question as much as it is a resourcing question which you will have a clearer picture of once you start scrutinizing the number of investigations per case.
Cases By Status
Quickly get a sense of how many cases are currently in each status. Statuses likely include open, completed, and in progress, so by understanding where the cases are you can gain insight into what is currently happening in your organization.
Another way to sort your cases is by risk-level or priority. Knowing how many high-risk and high-priority cases are currently ongoing at your organization can ensure your finger is always on the pulse.
Compare substantiated vs unsubstantiated cases in aggregate. Understanding what percentage of reported cases led to a substantiated investigation can be very insightful. If you have a large number of unsubstantiated reports at your company, employees may need to be retrained on what the hotline is for and the types of incidents that should be reported through these channels.
How long does it take for cases to launch into an investigation? Compare the lead times across case types and investigators. See what the average times are and make it a goal for investigators to meet or beat that time. In some countries lead time is subject to regulation, which makes it crucial that you measure and track lead time to protect your business from legal liability.
Case Closure Times
Find average times of case closure across the organization. Where are the times higher? Why does it take longer to close certain cases? There will be natural variation in case closure time depending on how many investigations need to take place, if the report is substantiated, and how severe the claims are, but look to case closure time to better understand these trends.
Compare the number of cases based on incident types. This chart or report will tell you what the most common issues plaguing your organization are. These topics could inform future policies and trainings to help ensure the issues do not continue to arise. You can also look at the inverse (the least common incident types) for insights around the areas your organization does not have as much of a current issue with. However, you need to ensure that the employee population still knows where they can report these less common issues if they do ever surface.
Root Cause Analysis
Analyze the root causes of incidents and types of remedial actions deployed. Leveraging a reporting tool to keep track of root causes can allow you to identify bigger issues within the organization that might need to be addressed. It’s also wise to review the types of remedial actions deployed and check in down the road to ensure they were effective. Did similar reports come in after remedial actions occurred? If so, this could be a sign that your resolution activities are ineffective and need to be reviewed.
Finding a Reporting Solution
While all these analytics are critical to measuring the success of your whistleblower process, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to measure all these factors on an ongoing, real-time basis without the support of a solution. That’s why we built GANalytics, a powerful reporting and analytics tool that keeps your program's performance in focus, including critical whistleblower metrics.
GANalytics serves you with the insights you need on your whistleblower process to make informed and data-driven decisions. The reporting platform sits on top of fundamental compliance processes, like Investigations, to provide a complete picture of your compliance program with a real-time feed of information. Our highly intuitive reporting and analytics tool keeps critical stakeholders looped in at all times. When managed effectively, data can be a powerful catalyst within your program and the greater business.
GANalytics includes robust reports and dashboards for our Investigations, Conflicts of Interest, Gifts & Entertainment, and Risk Management processes as well as any custom compliance process our customers need. Learn more about GANalytics and our Investigations solution by booking a demo today. By requesting a demo, one of our compliance experts will reach out to learn more about your program and build out a customized platform walkthrough.