PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NAVEXthe leader in integrated risk and compliance management software, announces the results of its 2022 Incident Management Benchmark Study. The annual report tracked and analyzed organizational compliance trends based on more than 1, 37 million global incident management reports issued to nearly 3,500 organizations in 2021. Chief among the findings is that risk and compliance professionals face a dual challenge in navigating a post-pandemic world with more whistleblowers emboldened than ever.

Risk and compliance professionals have faced another year of uncertainty in 2021, which began with hopes that COVID-19 vaccines could mark a return to normal, but was disrupted by variants that meant that COVID-19 remained a major part of discourse and discontent, as did changing vaccination policies and mask mandates. Although internal reporting has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, the ‘Big Resignation’ can reduce fear of retaliation and strengthen employees’ willingness to speak up, including reaching out to external sources . These combined dynamics likely contribute to a noticeable increase seen in reports of lack of civility in the workplace.

Emboldened whistleblowers

The results paint a clear picture of employees more willing to report misconduct than ever before. However, these reports are not only for internal resources, but also for external sources, as evidenced by the near doubling of tips, year over year, to Securities and Exchange Commission Office of the Whistleblower. Additionally, last year fewer people submitted anonymous reports internally, choosing to provide their name instead, than in any previous year. This decline is not just continuing, it is accelerating as the median anonymous reporting rate fell to an all-time high of 50% in 2021, from 56% in 2020 and 62% a decade ago, which indicates less fear of retaliation. Noting “the big quit” and intense competition for hiring, employees who believe they could more easily get another job may be more emboldened to speak out.

Also underscoring employees’ sense of empowerment, the increase in reports of fraud and allegations of misconduct has reached an all-time high since NAVEX’s benchmark report 10 years ago. Ninety percent of all reports in 2021 were allegations of misconduct, up from 86% last year and 79% in 2012.

Other major themes include:

  • Businesses continue to see the lingering effects of COVID-19. Reporting volume remains below pre-pandemic levels, with reporting levels following COVID cases. While case closure times and substantiation rates remained stable, organizations continued to see high levels of security-related cases.
  • Civility issues in the workplace, including retaliation, harassment and discrimination, have increased dramatically. Complaints about whistleblower retaliation have historically represented a small portion of all complaints, but have fallen from 0.9% in 2020 to 1.7% in 2021. Reports of harassment have exceeded levels seen during the height of the #MeToo movement and reports of discrimination surpassed levels reported the year George Floyd was killed. Taken together, these results suggest that employees are paying greater attention to issues of civility in the workplace, reflecting growing conversations about systemic racism and political divisions, as well as increased protection for whistleblowers in society. in general.
  • Digital admission continues to be the primary reporting method. 46% of organizations received the majority of their reports through web and mobile inbound channels. Reporting from hotlines is the second most common method with 30% of respondents saying this is the primary method of reporting, up from 2020 and close to pre- pandemic.

“Risk and compliance professionals face a critical moment as they pivot to a post-pandemic world, with emboldened whistleblowers and an increased willingness to question workplace behaviors” , said Carrie Penman, Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, NAVEX. “Risk and compliance managers are fully aware that employees have a very different view of their post-COVID workplace rights. Couple this with the tight job market where employees know they have other employment options readily available and it’s easy to see why employees feel encouraged to report workplace issues openly. This is an opportunity to further encourage a speak-up culture, build trust and use reporting insights to continuously improve internal reporting processes and awareness. »

To learn more, register for the webinar. Host Carrie Penman, NAVEX Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, will be joined by Justin Ross, FedEx Chief Compliance Officer, and Matt Kelly, CEO of Radical Compliance, to share details of the comprehensive management benchmark report incidents, available for free download at NAVEX.com in Q2. The webinar takes place on Wednesday, March 30 at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT.


NAVEX is the recognized leader in risk and compliance management software and services, enabling thousands of customers around the world to confidently manage and mitigate risk. NAVEX’s mission is to help clients promote ethical and inclusive work cultures, protect their brands and preserve the environment through sustainable business practices. For more information, visit NAVEX.com and our Blog. follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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