Increasingly, forward-looking companies are realizing the vital importance of facilitating whistleblowing to reveal problems with safety, misconduct, and compliance as soon as possible. Unfortunately, they face a giant trust gap because of the long corporate history of papering over serious issues and/or retaliating against employees who have found the courage to speak up. How do modern companies demonstrate their commitment to listening and acting to address workplace issues? We recently spoke to founder and CEO of NotMe Solutions, Ariel D. Weindling, who is also an employment lawyer, about what makes #NotMe’s whistleblowing platform uniquely effective, what inspired its creation, and why it is a win-win for companies and employees alike.
When the #MeToo movement started back in 2017, I was inspired by the many stories of women coming forward with their stories of workplace-related misconduct and impressed by the magnitude of the problem. I decided to create a solution to eliminate, as best as possible, barriers and hurdles that existed to bar people from speaking up or that created an unsafe environment for speaking up.
I spent 15 years of my legal career as a management-side employment lawyer. I was with Littler and MSK in Los Angeles for many years. And I observed first-hand, in the many cases in which I was involved over the years, how misconduct reporting, speaking up, and whistleblowing in general in the workplace was completely dysfunctional and broken.
I saw that employees needed to have a trusted and safe solution to speak up so they could report issues early. And employers needed a solution that would be easy, allowing them to respond to reports, investigate, and resolve them quickly.
The world was not in need of another compliance tool or solution designed only to cover a company’s rear end. Rather, it required a solution that would address all of the needs employees had when they had to report an issue and that could address the needs of a company as well. Balance and nuance were what was missing. A buffer or escrow between people and their employer what was needed. A bridge. And that is what the team and I created.
NotMe has an app (and a web app) available on the App Store and Google Play Store for employees to use when they need to report and speak up. That reporting tool belongs to the employee. Once an employee has created his or her account with #NotMe, they can decide to report anonymously if they want to. In those cases, reports are fully anonymous to their employers, and the employee’s identity is not revealed to the employer. In fact, their identity remains anonymous forever unless they decide to share it with their employer.
Our tools do not integrate with companies’ human resources information systems (HRIS), so there is no chance their identity will somehow be leaked or discovered. In essence, #NotMe holds reporting employees’ identities in escrow and acts as a buffer, a bridge between the reporter and their employer. We guarantee employees the anonymity of their reports when they decide to report anonymously.
The escrow and buffer created by #NotMe enhances trust in the reporting process. Getting employees to report internally (instead of to a plaintiff’s lawyer or on social media) is complex and not an easy thing to accomplish. The escrow platform like #NotMe increases the odds of achieving that. As an employer, you should want to have your employees report issues to you, preferably before things escalate, becoming more damaging and expensive to address. Our platform helps companies rebuild trust with their people while reducing employee lawsuits.
Employees benefit from an escrow platform that has been designed around their needs, that addresses their safety concerns, because it facilitates the reporting of issues. When fear of retaliation or the sense that nothing will be done delays reporting, issues have often spiraled out of control before the employer learns about them. An early report can be a catalyst for complex conversations that get an employer to course correct, protecting the employees if needed. Our escrow platform can also protect employees from retaliation, because their identity is completely protected if they choose.
When it comes to rooting out damaging misconduct, #NotMe allows organizations to effectively get timely, valuable insight from those in a position to sound the alarm—their employees. If you’d like to learn more about what #NotMe’s modern reporting and case management system can do for your organization, contact us here.