The ability to maintain confidentiality is a core trait of a successful internal auditor. There are two sides to consider:
1) When you come across information that you are required to keep confidential, and you manage that information properly, you ensure that true organizational justice can be achieved. I’ve seen many careers at a company derailed when unsubstantiated allegations were dispersed too widely by those charged with investigating.
There is a catch though. How do we demonstrate organizational justice when the allegations are false?
2) I’ve also see auditors and investigators sacked when they didn’t manage information properly. Like respect, trust has to be earned and re-earned.
It is human nature to want to discuss important or exciting news and rumors, but as an auditor, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the company and its employees.
Have you found yourself burdened with a heavy secret at work, such as an allegation of a significant fraud? How do you manage confidentiality?