Written by Ana Canteli on 29 Septemer 2023
Complaints software is a computer application designed to facilitate the receipt, management, and follow-up of reports of irregularities, fraud, inappropriate behavior, or other illicit activities within an organization. These programs are essential tools to promote transparency and ethics in the workplace and prevent and detect misconduct.
How to implement a Complaint channel
Implementing a Complaint channel in a company is a necessary process that requires careful planning and consideration of several vital factors. Here, we provide a general guide to implementing a Complaint channel in your organization:
Step 1: Understanding and Planning
- Needs assessment: To determine the reason and objectives of a Complaint channel, we have the legal and regulatory framework as our primary guide. We may also want to implement one to promote ethics, prevent fraud, and improve organizational culture, among other goals.
- Top Management Commitment: Get the backing and commitment of the company's top management to ensure the project's success
- Form an implementation team: Assigning a team responsible for implementing the Complaint channel is essential to ensure its correct implementation. This team should include representatives from human resources, regulatory compliance, ethics, information technology, and legal department, as needed.
Step 2: Design of the Complaint Channel
- Select the channel type: You must decide whether to implement an internal (for employees), external (for customers, suppliers) reporting channel, or a combination of both. It is vital to offer options for anonymous or confidential reporting.
- Choose technology: Evaluate the technology solutions available to manage the Complaint channel. In this aspect, OpenKM can provide the ideal technological platform to create your complaint channel.
Establish policies and procedures: With OpenKM's Complaint channel software, you can define clear and detailed policies and procedures that establish how complaints should be filed, managed, and investigated.
Step 3: Communication and Training
- Report on the Complaint channel: Communicate to all employees and other stakeholders about the existence of the Complaint channel, its purpose, and how it can be accessed. This may include email communications, video tutorials, workplace posters, and training.
- Train employees: Provide training on the importance of the Complaint channel, how to use it effectively, and how whistleblower confidentiality will be protected.
Step 4: Implementation and Management
- Configure the system: The OpenKM Complaint channel software is designed to be 100% customized and tested as a Complaint system to ensure it works correctly.
- Establish a Complaint process: Create an automated process for receiving, recording, and managing complaints effectively in the Complaint channel software. This includes the appointment of a team or person responsible for handling complaints.
Step 5: Continuous Evaluation and Improvement
- Monitoring and follow-up: Supervise the operation of the Complaint channel and follow up on all complaints received. Ensure that reports are being dealt with appropriately and promptly. OpenKM's Complaint channel software includes the Reports functionality, which allows you to receive updated information on system performance.
- Review and improvement: Conduct periodic reviews of the Complaint channel to identify opportunities for improvement. Thanks to the adaptability of OpenKM as a Complaint channel software, the system's update is guaranteed.
Step 6: Whistleblower Protection
- Ensure confidentiality: Ensure that whistleblowers and whistleblowers are kept confidential. Establish measures to protect whistleblowers from retaliation. OpenKM's Complaint channel software offers strong guarantees of anonymization of reports, which helps protect the identity of whistleblowers.
- Legal protection: Provide legal protection to whistleblowers against retaliation and ensure that no adverse action is taken against them for filing reports in good faith. In this aspect, the role of the legal department or advice is fundamental, and you can find invaluable support in the complaints channel software to develop your work.
Remember that it is essential that a culture of ethics and transparency is promoted throughout the company for the Complaint channel to be effective.
How a Complaint channel is managed
The effective management of a Complaint channel is essential to ensure that complaints are dealt with correctly and that a culture of ethics and compliance is promoted in the organization. Here are the key steps to manage a Complaint channel effectively:
1. Receipt of complaints:
● Establish multiple ways to receive reports, such as a phone number, email, hotline, or web form. With OpenKM complaint management software, you can document complaints received through all these channels.
● Ensure that reports can be submitted anonymously or confidentially if preferred.
● Train whistleblowers to be responsive, understanding, and empathetic to whistleblowers.
Registration and documentation:
● Record all reports thoroughly and accurately. This includes details about the whistleblower, the nature of the complaint, the dates, and any evidence provided.
● Assign a case number or code to each report for follow-up.
● Store all information securely and confidentially.
3. Initial assessment:
● Conduct an initial assessment of each complaint to determine its severity and urgency.
● Classify reports based on their nature (e.g., financial fraud, workplace harassment, ethical violations, etc.).
4. Research and analysis:
● Assign responsibility to investigate each complaint impartially and objectively.
● Conduct relevant research and document findings.
● Ensure that the investigation is conducted confidentially and that the whistleblower's identity is protected if requested.
5. Communication and follow-up:
● Maintain constant communication with the whistleblower, reporting on the progress of the investigation. This can be facilitated in OpenKM by automatically providing a file number or through the Subscription Service
● Follow up on complaints and set deadlines for resolution. This way, you can obtain within OpenKM metrics the type of complaints, periods of analysis and resolution, etc.
● Communicate research results to stakeholders, such as senior management or the ethics committee.
- Implement appropriate corrective actions in response to research findings.
- Ensure that sanctions or disciplinary measures are applied fairly and consistently.
- Follow up to verify that corrective actions are implemented and working correctly.
Confidentiality and whistleblower protection:
● Keep reports and whistleblowers confidential.
● Establish measures to protect whistleblowers from retaliation, such as non-retaliation policies and secure communication channels.
Registration and reporting:
● Keep a detailed record of all reports received and actions taken about them.
● Generate regular reports on the functioning of the Complaint channel for senior management and other stakeholders.
Education and awareness-raising:
● Provide regular training to employees on using the Complaint channel and the importance of ethics and compliance.
● Foster a culture of transparency and ethics throughout the organization.
● Regularly review and evaluate the functioning of the Complaint channel.
● Conduct whistleblower satisfaction surveys to get feedback.
● Adjust and improve processes and policies as needed.
Managing a Complaint channel requires commitment, resources, and an organizational culture that promotes transparency and ethics. It is also critical to comply with applicable regulations and laws related to Complaint management and whistleblower protection.