HR Highlights – Do small businesses need to worry about whistleblowing?

Contribution from Katie at Elstan HR.

Serious allegations of rape and sexual misconduct have been made by female members of staff against several males colleagues at CBI recently. Thankfully, such severe allegations like this are rare in organisations. But it is easy to think that such issues only arise in large organisations. Smaller businesses often overlook the need to provide a clear process for employees to raise issues.

This is known as a whistleblowing process and most larger organisations have whistleblowing policies in place to ensure employees have a route to report wrongdoing without the risk of repercussions for reporting a concern that is not necessarily appropriate for a grievance process, for example.

Having a clear route for employees to raise concerns independently is essential and this can be difficult in small organisations where there is one business owner or a limited number of senior managers.

It is important therefore to ensure employees understand how they can raise a complaint or concern without reprisal. As a small business, having clear policies on grievance and disciplinary are a good starting point and are essential in making it clear to all employees what is expected of each person in terms of conduct and behaviour.

A grievance process give employees a formal route to raise a complaint and have their complaint heard fairly and in a timely manner. It demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to ensuring a safe and fair environment for all employees to work in. Beyond this, having a whistleblowing policy also demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to providing that transparency.

If you would like to discuss implementing suitable polices in your business, or if you would like to talk through any people related concerns you have, please don’t hesitate to speak to contact me at

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