Endeavour’s whistleblower hotline
A trustworthy way for anyone to report anything
While highly committed to corporate responsibility and facing pressures that required diligent attention to governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) to be successful (see sidebar), Canadian mining company Endeavour Silver used to gather information, managed cases, and reported on results through a mix of ad hoc Excel spreadsheets and informal communications. This rudimentary approach, still widely used by companies of a similar size and structure, meant it was hard for Endeavour to get meaningful reporting. Further, without a formal grievance process, employees also had no real idea of who to complain to about what.
Endeavour decided this was no longer cutting it.
Management decided it needed a more structured solution to support its GRC and global reporting initiative (GRI) efforts and started evaluating vendor offerings put forward by Travesia, an international consultancy specializing in the planning and implementation of corporate sustainability and social responsibility programs. In 2021, Canadian ethics reporting company, WhistleBlower Security, was selected to implement Endeavour’s whistleblower hotline.
“WhistleBlower Security had all the functionality Endeavour needed, did not try to make them pay for any functionality they didn’t need, and had great references in the mining vertical,” said Edna Aguiñaga, Travesia Partners Sustainability Advisor. “WhistleBlower was also super-helpful and responsive during the implementation process and consistently responded to us within hours if not sooner.”
Endeavour says the results of the whistleblower hotline have been numerous:
> A clear, trustworthy way for anyone to report anything. Endeavour employees can call a human operator or submit their issue via a webform; it is up to them. Employees also have the choice of making their report wholly anonymous – or providing their identity to WhistleBlower Security only in case there is a need to follow up.
> Call center staff are trained to get it right and complete. Hotline operators make sure they get complete and accurate information, while also putting callers at ease regarding their anonymity and Endeavour’s process. This highly positive experience ensures cases can be properly researched and resolved and makes it more likely an employee will call again if and when they have something important to report.
> Accurate, actionable reporting. Rather than trying to piece together a picture of what is going on at Endeavour from disparate spreadsheets, the company’s managers now have a “single source of the truth” that is accurate, complete, and up-to-date. Plus, managers can more easily see trends and anomalies as they occur, which allows them to be more proactive.
> A structured, customized governance process. Endeavour can control and track how incidents come into case management so HR issues can be handled by the HR department, and operational safety issues can be handled by operations. The WhistleBlower Security platform also eliminates the drawbacks of unstructured communications, which can lead to errors of hearsay, issues that go unreported due to personal favoritism, and poor documentation.
> A framework for continuous improvement. Because Endeavour’s governance process is now well-defined, it can be incrementally improved. For example, the company has extended the whistleblower hotline to serve members of the community as well as Endeavour employees. The company has also modified its incident reporting taxonomy to better reflect and support its sustainability, safety, and social goals.
“We know the mining industry has a lot of pressure to provide shareholders with a documented record of compliance and protection of the environment, community, and stakeholders, which is why WhistleBlower Security makes a smart ethics and compliance partner,” said Shannon Walker, President, WhistleBlower Security Inc. WhistleBlower Security Inc. is a global, B Corp Certified provider of ethics reporting services. “It’s fantastic to see all the benefits Endeavour has experienced after rolling out the hotline to employees only last year. To then have them extend the hotline to the entire community demonstrates an extremely high level of transparency and accountability.”
Walker added mining clients are often early adopters of compliance tools so management can be proactive and work to support employees, the community, and stakeholders around their sites.