Case Closure Times Jump, Harassment Reports Decline, According to NAVEX Global’s 2020 Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report

The findings, based on data from 1.4 million reports, cover the second full year since the beginning of the #MeToo era

Leading integrated risk and compliance management software company NAVEX Global announced the release of its 2020 Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmark data during a webinar scheduled today. The full report, which will be published later this month, was completed before the worst of the COVID-19 crisis. NAVEX Global has also been tracking the types of reports received during the COVID-19 crisis and will share preliminary observations during today’s webinar, click here to register.

Among the top findings is a 13% increase in case closure time to 45 days – a trend organizations focused on strong cultures should watch closely.

"The best-practice average for case closure should be 30 to 32 days. Too many organizations are either not prioritizing these reports, not providing enough resources to resolve them, or both," said Carrie Penman, NAVEX Global’s Chief Risk and Compliance Officer. "Simultaneously, we’re seeing extremes in the data – with about a third of organizations performing well, but a fifth taking 100 days or more to close cases. Addressing employee concerns in a timely way is a critical function for a compliance program’s credibility."

Additionally, the 2020 report was the second with a full year’s results since the beginning of the #MeToo movement in late 2017. While last year’s report showed an increase in harassment reporting to 5.46% of total reports, the category dropped to 4.81% this year, which is approaching the percentage of reports received prior to #MeToo.

"It’s possible that organizations made improvements that resulted in a decline in the underlying behaviour – or that there was a return to the mean after a spike in reports in the early days of #MeToo," Penman said. "Just as likely, though, is that good-faith reporters are not as willing to come forward because they feel that preventing harassment has become less of a priority for their employers or that their employers’ actions may not have instilled confidence.

"Regardless, there’s no reason to think that workplace harassment is an issue that’s gone away -- and organizations should emphasize internal processes, work to garner support of leadership and generally embrace cultures that encourage coming forward."

The 2020 report, which includes data from 1.4 million reports from around the world, provides several other important findings that organizations should consider:

  • While the median overall reports per 100 employees remained steady over the last several years, 19 percent of NAVEX Global customers are receiving 5.0 or more reports per 100 employees.
  • In a new metric for 2020, analysis showed that 31% of reporters speak up in nine days or less after an incident has occurred, but a surprising 20% of reports came in 60 days or more after the incident occurred. Organizations that see long lag times in reporting should consider possible causes – including retaliation, awareness, availability of reporting systems, or other factors. Long lag times can make it difficult to effectively complete an investigation.
  • Case closure rates for anonymous reports were similar to closure rates for named reports. This should assuage concerns that anonymous reports are unfounded or result in cases that are more difficult to resolve.
  • The share of reports made via helpline and web submissions dropped slightly while those made through all other methods, which includes in-person reporting, increased.

About NAVEX Global

NAVEX Global is the worldwide leader in integrated risk and compliance management software and services that help organizations manage risk, address complex regulatory compliance requirements and foster an ethical, highly productive workplace culture. Learn more about NAVEX Global (navexglobal.com) online: Risk & Compliance Matters™ Blog (navexglobal.com/blog), @NAVEXGlobal (twitter.com/navexglobal), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/navex-global)

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