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Employees Fail To Report Abuse

The rate of compliance reporting has dropped by 30%, measured from the time before the pandemic, according to new research conducted by Gartner, Inc. Employees today are both less likely to observe misconduct and are less likely to report it when observed, finds a new study conducted by the international management consulting company.

“The increase in remote and hybrid working practices has reduced the amount of misconduct and the potential to observe it,” says Chris Audet, senior director, research in the Gartner legal, risk and compliance practice.

“However, what we see in the data is more complex: misconduct such as gifts and entertainment, and travel abuse is falling, but things such as intimidation and unwanted behavior are on the rise,” he adds.

Misconduct certainly still occurs following the depths of the pandemic, but in changing ways. Compliance is about 30% less frequent than before.

“Since the pandemic, employees are a lot less likely to speak up if they sense something is wrong, whether or not the frequency of misconduct is higher or lower,” says Audet.

“A culture where employees don’t think others are reporting misconduct has negative implications for the business. Employees are less likely to see their company as ethical, less likely to think the company cares about them, and less likely to be engaged in their jobs.”

Some of the change can be chalked up to the growth of remote working. “Bullying, intimidation and unwanted behavior are up 7% for remote workers; misuse of time and company assets is up 3%,” says Audet. Sexual harassment is relatively steady at just 1% lower for remote employees since the pandemic.

New forms of misconduct are quickly emerging in a virtual environment, such as inappropriate video backgrounds or online behavior. Compliance leaders will need to start thinking differently to reverse the trend, Gartner argues.

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