How to prepare a sound speak up policy like a pro even if you are not a professional writer?

 

Having a speak up policy is a norm in most organisations. Don’t worry if you don’t have one or if you plan to review yours. These notes might be able to save your time to research what you need to have in your speak up policy. If you are stuck or need help, send us a request. We are happy to walkthrough with you.

1. Understand your audiences first

Before you begin writing, you want to know who is going to read this document. If your readers are not professionals like lawyers or accountants, then make sure you set the tone in the way everyone is comfortable to follow through. Or else, what you write will be wasted. They are not going to read it. Or even able to understand.

2. Give your employees a reason to read

Start with why — motivate your employees with the ‘why they must read it’ approach. You want to start with benefits of the speak up programme. Articulate how is the programme could help them, help the their teams, or the company.

It is also a good idea to set a straight tone about employees’ protection. Assurance on confidentiality, free from retaliation, strong support from the management team will encourage them to continue reading it.

Share with employees about the good wills of the company – where the company is looking to build a healthy, happy and safe workplace that everyone wants.

3. Define who uses the speak up hotline

It is a good practice to start with a concise definition. Stating who can use the speak up hotline. Don’t assume this is for only employees. Some organisations expand the speak up programme for their ex-employees, suppliers, investors, and family of the employees.

There are different reasons of doing so. Perhaps you can review if you need to expand to these levels.

4. List the roles and players in the speak up programme

One of the important thing you should consider in your policy is that, tell your employees what are the responsibilities of the company management. This will give them an idea the speak up programme is supported by the management. Management have key roles to play in this programme.

Top management / Department heads
Ensure staffs are aware of the programme
Ensure disclosure are handled in line with the policy
Senior managers
Ensure staffs are aware of the programme
Ensure staffs have access to all channels
Managers and supervisors
Ensure staffs are aware of the programme

5. How to report / what to report

Here you can break down how and what.

How to report

—is referring to the available reporting channels and tools. In this case:

Reporting Channels
Method to report
Phone call
Call 7x24 hotline. Numbers to call are:
• 123-456-789 (English)
• 456-789-000 (Spanish)
Mobile app
Launch your anonymous reporting IntegraCall® app
Web base
Navigate to www.integracall.com to report
Post (send a letter)
Send your letter to P.O. Box 12345, NY.
Email
report@integracall.com
Speaking directly to a case officer***
Office 1 - Adam Leighton, tel: 344-343-3434
Office 2 - Samson P., tel: 334-344-3444

***You might find it surprising, for smaller organisations, the employees might prefer to speak directly to a person that is in charge. If you want to learn more how to add a case manually to the case management tool, make sure you schedule a demo with us. We will show you a complete case management tool that gives you flexibility to add cases.

What to report

— what do you want your employee to report? What amount of details are good? Not too less, so that you have enough information to work on it. Not too much, so that they won’t frighten off from answering all your questions.

6. What happened when a report is received?

Yes, let the reporters know what will happen with the case after you receive it. Reporters have expectations on you, if they’ve chosen to use your service, follow the speak up policy you have set.

Communication is the key. It is even better if your tool sends automated response to the reporter when a case is received, or when a case has an update. You don’t have to worry if the reporters are not kept in the loop.

There are a few more examples that employees are interested to find out about how the case is being handled:

•     Who will receive my case?

•     What should I do/act when a report is received by you?

•     Who will be contacted for investigation?

•     How can I request an update?

•     How often I will be informed for an update?

•     What are the steps you have taken to ensure the confidentiality?

•     What are the consequences to the subject?

 

7. Don’t forget to use pictures

We often hear about - of all information transmitted to brain, 90% is via visual.

Add tables, workflows or icons to the speak up policy. It will help your employees to read and absorb the information more effectively. Make your policy looks interesting and your reader will spend longer time on it.

These visual tables or workflows are good to have:

  • Wow is a case being handled

  • How to make a report

  • Expected response time - if you have one

Below is an example about expected response time in table format:

Non-urgent case
Urgent case
Acknowledge receiving case
Within 1 hour
Within 1 hour
Review by case committee
Within 5 days
Within 24 hours
Make contact with subject of allegation, victims, or witnesses.
Within 10 days
Within 48 hours
Aim to close case
Within 30 days
Within 5 days

Summary

To summarise this, these are not the only areas you want to review before writing your policy. However, to keep your policy simple and effective to your reader, choose wisely. Keep the most important one at the main, and substitute with appendixes or details. Anyway, do find out what works the best for your organisation.

  • If you need help with setting up or reviewing your speak up policy; or

  • If you want to get a tool help you, automate your response to reporters, case participants. Feel free to schedule a demo with us.


The Red Flag Group® has many years’ experience in developing programmes related to workplace harassment as well as whistleblowing. We also provide hotline and training services to support the successful operation of your programmes.