Behavioral change messages are challenging to deliver well. They require well-crafted, accessible scenarios that resonate with the learner. They also require recognition that behavioral issues are often not ‘black and white’. After all, it is in the ‘grey’ area that difficult choices are required and made.
Striking a positive note helps. The promotion of personal responsibility for ‘living’ the organization’s values and an explanation of why early identification of issues is beneficial are not only key elements of Conduct Risk management, they also help to counter-balance the negative messages around the consequences of non-reporting.
Typically, a whistleblowing course would include the following messages:
- Promoting a culture of personal responsibility
- Understanding the benefit of early identification of issues and prompt reporting
- Recognizing what needs to be reported
- Knowing how to report and to whom (often complex especially within larger organizations)
- The personal consequences of making a report—including addressing employees' concerns about anonymity, retaliation and disciplinary proceedings (where the employee is personally involved in the reported incident)
- Reporting on colleagues, including those senior to yourself
Whistleblowing and Training
Points 5 and 6 above are particularly sensitive areas that go to the heart of the culture and conduct agenda. But, to close with a word of caution, the culture of the organization must live up to its training messages.
Remember that the actual treatment received by those who find the courage to speak up and blow the whistle is, and always will be, the most powerful teaching tool of all.