Direct Access for Companies
1. Red alert – the acute need for action – goes up, whenever you know or suspect that an employee possesses potentially dangerous or at least protected information outside or may intend to do so.
What can be done?
It matters, of course, which type of information is or may be taken outside and to what extent management was already aware of its content. Is there a need for further information on the risk ? Is there still a chance for open communication with the (potential) whistleblower ? When these and other fundamental considerations have been clarified, it will be necessary to assess the risk potential arising from the indicated situation as well as from the message as such in order to develop alternatives routes of action.
Alternatives usually have to be found with respect for the following considerations:
- keeping the existing risks within tenable bounds,
- preventing further crisis,
- taking up communication both with the whistleblower and the internal or external public,
- working through the conflict.
For most of these steps consultation is indispensable, which larger enterprises can often provide through in-house resources, once it has been recognised how the problem could reach this point. Where little specialised know-how in regard to risk management, communication, crisis-, and conflict management, or the corresponding legal areas is available in-house, the necessary expertise should be brought in from outside. In either case, structured steps need to be taken immediately in such a situation. The time frame should take into account whether or not at least a reliable assessment exist, which measures can be taken immediately with in-house resources without causing additional irreversible damages. The latter may quite often be caused just by the rapid deterioration in communication.
Björn Rohde-Liebenau, attorney and mediator, who can offer either an immediate consultation or in more complex cases help to find the appropriate consultation concept, may be reached by telephone at +49 6442 954760-0 or via e-mail.
2. The ideal setting for successful consultation actually exists where it has been recognised by the organisation within the framework of its risk management that the patterns of communication about risks need to be improved. We often then find ourselves in a situation, in which it is obvious that whistleblowing may happen any time – orange alert, so to speak. Assessing the situation is a prominent early part of the process. Unless emergency measures need to be taken, the focus will be to introduce or improve an interactive risk management and defining rules for whistleblowing. Specific needs will be given preference. Rules and structures to enhance risk communication, including protection for the whistleblower from reprisals, will be prepared in collaboration with all internal stakeholders.
Finally here are two important ways to approach the subject beyond the patterns of risk communication:
3. Mediation: In a conflict which typically arises from a whistleblowing situation or rather from a preceding communication crisis, the best chance to save what can be saved exists where the participants agree either to rely on the structured process called mediation or use the less structured support of a conflict navigator. Björn Rohde-Liebenau is available as a conflict navigator or as a mediator with particular professional knowledge in these settings, provided that he has not already been engaged by one of the parties to serve as attorney in the same case.
4. Training and Education can be particularly useful where:
- in-house resources already exist whose application in the context of whistleblowing can either be trained or rehearsed,
- a consensus on the treatment of risk communication is sought to include the entire organisation (and possibly external parties), or
- the problem itself and the concrete risk situation first needs to be identified.
In these cases, and in order to become better acquainted, offers range from a brief counselling session for a single person via sessions for small groups (2 to 8 participants) all the way to seminars for larger groups and entire departments (6 to 60 participants) which can continue over several days. Call +49 6442 954760-0 or email.