Speak up to misconduct

Elkem is upgrading the misconduct reporting system for all employees and partners.

Corporate compliance officer Julie Leypoldt has led Elkem’s Speak up project, which now is being rolled out globally. "Elkem has undergone an important change in recent years and has become a truly global company. We saw the need to set up a single visible channel that people can reach out to in their local language. We want to make sure that everybody knows where to turn if they witness misconduct", says Leypoldt.

Misconduct reporting, that is reporting unacceptable circumstances in the business to anyone who can do something about it, can constitute an important resource for organisations. Elkem encourages its 6,370 employees and external parties to report possible dishonest or illegal conduct in the business. We prefer to talk about speaking up. We encourage employees to discuss ethical issues freely and report when something is not right,” says Leypoldt.

In order to assure that issues of concern reach top management, the Compliance function has engaged an external service provider. The external partner provides a software service that will be accessible to all employees and partners. Employees can access the service through the intranet pages, and suppliers and other stakeholders through the Elkem web page.

"You can choose your own language and either record a voice or written message. The message will be translated to English and sent to the compliance department. Compliance will be able to communicate with the sender in their native language. Our response will be translated back to the language of the sender", says Leypoldt.

One important aspect of the service is that the person can choose to remain anonymous, also towards the compliance department. The reporter will receive an access code and can log on to the system to follow up on the case and will not be required to leave their name or contact information. "In some cases, employees will not feel comfortable discussing the matters with local management, maybe because the management is involved, or simply because the employee wishes to remain unidentified. We think that the chances of getting information increases with this solution", says Leypoldt.

The awareness around the Speak up channel is to be increased primarily through internal communication methods, such as intranet, trainings, posters and business cards. "The posters will be installed at the physical premises, and we will print business cards that employees can take home, all of which will be available in different languages. Rollout of the posters and business cards started in the end of 2019 and will continue through first half of 2020", according to the compliance officer.

This article was first published in Elkem's sustainability report 2019