Frequently asked questions

What benefits would my organisation and employees expect from working  with the Guardian Service?

Some of the proven benefits of The Guardian Service include: • Improved staff retention and reduced staff sickness levels
• performance improvements
• enhanced customer and staff experience driven by frontline feedback
• reduced risk of whistleblowing and reputational damage thanks to positive early action
• visible and tangible commitment to staff by leadership
• provide leadership with real time feedback
• cultural improvements at micro and macro level
• demonstrates commitment to transparency to Board, regulators and external scrutineers. • proactive approach reduces employee stress, management time and legal
costs of grievances and tribunals - average cost of a grievance is c £35-45k

Why would a member of my team choose to speak up to a Guardian, but not a colleague?

We have found, and research shows, a number of reasons why staff may not speak up to colleagues or through in-house channels:

  • Worry of being seen negatively - as a troublemaker or not a team player
  • concern about upsetting or embarrassing colleagues
  • fear over recrimination, legal action or being fired
  • anxiety over career progression and access to development
  • they do not feel it is ‘their place’ to offer insights or suggestions.

Is speaking up really an issue for the majority of employees?

The latest research suggests that:

  • 50% of employees have ideas that have not formally voiced
  • 8% of staff are sitting on information that could harm the organisation
  • Female employees are more guarded in formal settings
  • Junior employees are most likely to stay quiet.

How does The Guardian Service work on the ground?

Initial contact with the appointed Guardian is usually by telephone, through a unique and dedicated number commissioned for each organisation. Our Guardians are contactable 24/7 and will speak with members of staff at a time, or place, to suit the individual.

Our Guardians help individuals to articulate their concern and decide what action they wish to take. We do not make recommendations as self-determination by the individual on what action to take is a fundamental principle of our work.

Our experience shows that for many individuals, the opportunity to speak about their concerns in a safe environment with a neutral and understanding person can be an end in itself. Other individuals may ask our Guardians to facilitate a meeting between the individual and relevant colleague(s) to resolve a concern, if both parties agree. Or, again with agreement, the issue may be escalated in line with agreed protocols, to the appropriate manager or executive.

How quickly do The Guardian Service react when a serious issue is raised?

The Guardian Service has well-established protocols for escalating concerns appropriately, especially if they are safety related or similar. If you would like more information on our escalation policies and protocols, please contact us.

What is the difference between the Guardian Service and a standard Employee  Assistance Programme (EAP)?

The Guardian Service is often contracted as an additional service alongside in-house provision, to provide employees with an independent option. This has provided clients with an opportunity to benchmark the effectiveness of their current provision. The Guardian Service does not provide counselling, legal or wellbeing advice. We do not provide legal or psychological advice. Our Guardians help individuals to articulate their concern and decide what action they wish to take. We do not make recommendations as self-determination by the individual on what action to take is a fundamental principle of our work.

What do The Guardian Service do with the information gathered from staff?

Our contact with employees is strictly confidential and our Guardians do not make a record of conversations or take further action without permission from the individual(s) concerned. In our monthly reports to clients, we ensure that no individual can be identified.

If the issue raised is safety critical, we will escalate it immediately to the appropriate contact in the organisation. If the individual raising this level of concern does not wish to be named, our Guardians will do so anonymously.

How are leadership teams kept informed on how many staff have contacted the  service and for what reasons?

We submit a monthly report to the executive team or nominated lead which contains the number of contacts made to us, the theme of any concerns and the reasons for using The Guardian Service. We ensure that no individual can be identified from this data. The reports are a crucial tool for the senior team to understand what the underlying culture is within different parts of their organisation and to take action to address any issues.