What are the advantages and disadvantages of anonymous reporting?

Anonymous reporting encourages people to raise concerns, complaints and ideas without revealing their identity. Elker helps people speak up, and leaders listen.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of anonymous reporting?
15 August 2022

For organisations, the biggest risks can be the ones they’re not aware of until it’s too late. Employees or customers are notoriously reluctant to raise issues, meaning they’re often not uncovered and dealt with until they become serious problems.

Whether the problem is poor service, safety red flags, or human resources issues like bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment, anonymous reporting encourages people to speak up and share important information without fear of reprisal.

What is anonymous reporting?

Anonymous reporting lets people raise concerns or complaints without revealing their identity. An anonymous reporting platform supports two-way communication between reporter and organisation, with data encrypted during transfer and storage.

What are some of the advantages of anonymous reporting?

Anonymous reporting lets people explore their options upfront

Legacy reporting systems were generally designed to meet the needs of businesses rather than ensure a positive experience for the person making a report. Most people want to understand how the process works before they raise a concern or complaint.

Platforms like Elker let those making a report choose to remain anonymous while they explore their options. They guide reporters through the process, helping them to understand the possible next steps before they decide what they’d like to do. With Elker, employees can make an informed decision about lodging a formal report once they understand how the organisation will manage their feedback or complaint.

Anonymous reporting allows organisations to reduce risk

By offering anonymous reporting channels, businesses can demonstrate that they’re genuinely interested in receiving and responding to feedback – whether positive or negative. Anonymity makes it more likely that people will report issues without fear of discrimination or retaliation.

From a risk management perspective, allowing anonymous reporting lets organisations demonstrate that they encourage people to come forward and have a robust process for handling concerns and complaints. By making it safe for people to speak up, it’s less likely that problems remain out of sight until they become big issues.

What are some of the disadvantages of anonymous reporting?

It’s difficult for organisations to respond to and resolve an anonymous report

This is only the case with legacy reporting systems that don’t support ongoing communication between the person making the report and the organisation. Modern reporting systems like Elker support encrypted two-way chat, so organisations can keep reporters informed of the progress and outcome of any investigation, whether they’re anonymous or not.

With certain types of complaints, organisations might have a duty of care to act whether the reporter is anonymous or not. Elker lets businesses help people understand their reporting obligations and highlight that it will be difficult to act unless they continue the dialogue. It also captures a timestamped history of all communications so that they can show they’ve done everything possible to manage and resolve tricky issues.

Anonymous reporting means people will be more likely to raise issues

Having an anonymous reporting channel absolutely means people are more likely to raise issues. We believe this is a positive rather than a negative for organisations interested in solving problems and responding to feedback and new ideas.

Anonymous reporting empowers businesses to shift from a culture of under-reporting or reporting only after an issue becomes a big - and possibly reputation-damaging - problem. So long as your organisation has the processes, systems and resourcing to deal with reports efficiently and effectively, receiving more feedback will provide you with valuable information and data you can use to map trends and inform future actions.

Want to discuss the pros and cons?

Elker is a people-centric platform designed to help people speak up, and leaders listen. Learn more and book a demo at www.elker.com.

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