Open the newspaper, listen to the radio or turn on the television any day of the week and you are bound to discover one or more corruption scandals both in the government and private sectors. Adjacent to these news items are most likely courageous employees who have uncovered mismanagement, law breaking, waste, fraud or abuse of office.
Have you even wondered who these brave people are? What they have, often unknowingly, put at risk to get their story to you or what happens after the story has been told?
Without fully understanding such revelations I would, in the past, merely shake my head and move onto the next story. That all changed when I blew the whistle on gross indiscretions and violations of the law within LeisureNet Ltd (Health & Raquet Clubs) in the year 2000.
My life was irrevocably changed as I risked my career, my financial stability and my life in an attempt to let people know what white collar crime was and the implications for all citizens and stakeholders.
As Transparency International assert ‘Whistleblowing kills’, I began to experience that whistleblowing is a tortuous, confusing and dangerous event. Unlike a more regular event such as divorce, whistleblowing is unique and attracts negative reactions where there is no empathetic counsel or sound legal advice available. In corporations, corruption leads to practices which are bad for the customers, bad for the employees and ultimately bad for all shareholders. Corrupt companies wreak havoc on society and often leave thousands of employees ruined and millions of shareholders cheated.
Contrary to such negative allegations whistleblowers are usually the opposite of how their foes describe them. The most consistent common denominators among whistleblowers are their ethics-driven reasons for whistleblowing and the resulting retaliation and obfuscation directed at them. Research has shown that whistleblowers are described as top performers and model employees. They are honest, hard working, upwardly-mobile individuals who operate with moral codes. They are team players who believe they are pursuing issues affecting the greater good of the team. That is why they blow the whistle. Afterwards, most whistleblowers are forced to leave their jobs, their business communities and often their professions due to the severe retaliation and negative professional publicity directed at them. Despite these severe damages, the whistleblowers risk all in pursuing the greater good.
Recruitment agencies have the power to make a difference to whistleblowers by understanding and honoring them in knowing that the goals of whistleblowers are about stepping forward, telling the truth and protecting society. Surely attributes a candidate should be proud to have on their CVs.