How to Build a Culture of Reporting

According to an annual report, which covers ethical trends in workplace environments,  one of the insights looks at employees’ willingness to report workplace misbehavior.  Over the pandemic, respondents said they are more willing to report workplace misbehavior, but actually reported less of it. In reviewing the findings and breaking it down by generations, Gen Z is less likely than any other generation to report misconduct. Here are the findings, specifically for Gen Z:

  • 55.5% of respondents who witnessed workplace misconduct said they did not report it because they didn’t believe corrective action would be taken.
  • 47.1% said they worried about retaliation for reporting misconduct.
  • 41.2% said they feared they wouldn’t remain anonymous after reporting.
  • 40.1% said they didn’t feel comfortable reporting on employees who were senior to them.
  • 21% said they were afraid that reporting misconduct would hurt their team members.

This raises the question; how do you establish a reporting culture in your workplace and ensure it is a safe space for reporting with no fear of retaliation? The organization must do more to show their employees of all generations that they can trust the company. Let’s use the 4 E’s for reporting in the workplace.

Establish trust – As a leader, communicate your commitment to building trust and reporting it through a safety culture.

Encourage reporting – Clearly define what types of incidents should be reported. Staff may not recognize that a daily occurrence is an unsafe condition or event. Make sure the incident reporting system is accessible to all staff, easy to use, enables data analysis to be done in a timely manner, and can include reports.

Eliminate fear of punishment – This should go without saying, but senior management should be held to the same standards as the rest of the staff. Employees who report to human resources should feel free to express their issues and concerns without judgment. Human resources may consider a place where employees can submit their concerns anonymously.

Examine unsafe conditions or misbehaviors – Determine what unsafe conditions mean to your organization and what constitutes as misbehavior.  Strengthen the processes within the system. Help staff learn to identify the factors that lead up to misbehavior and what to look out for.

Once Human Resource sources establishes its processes of how to report misbehaviors, it should hold a company-wide meeting so employees are aware and know who to report to.


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