|How to conduct an effective workplace investigation
Disputes between co-workers and between employees and their bosses are almost inevitable—which is why every HR professional must know how to gather the necessary facts to find out what’s going on.
Whether it is a small inquiry that might only involve a couple of questions, or a weighty investigation into serious allegations of misconduct, being deliberate and intentional about an investigation will create a more helpful and less disruptive process.
Even the best HR pros usually make small mistakes — errors that a savvy lawyer will pounce on. Make sure that you aren’t one of those managers.
Join us on Friday, January 25, for a webinar that is packed with tips and strategies to handle any workplace problem quickly and legally. You’ll learn how to conduct investigations that achieve all of your goals – and will stand up in court.
Register now for HR Investigations Workshop: A Guide to Legal & Effective Inquiries.
First step: Making a plan
Take these steps before any fact gathering, interviewing or document retrieval begins:
1. Stop for a moment. Give yourself an opportunity to think about what to do. Avoid the temptation to prejudge the situation based on what you think you already know.
2. Identify and list the specific issues, complaints and concerns involved in the situation you’re looking at. There may be several.
3. Consider whether to get an outsider involved—typically your employment lawyer, an investigator or, possibly, the police.
4. Write a list of the information you need and the questions you need to ask. Then, note where that information is and who needs to be interviewed.
5. Decide who needs to know about the issue. Most people in your organization won’t. Don’t give them information about the investigation.
6. Institute a document retention plan. Make sure that information you need isn’t destroyed or in jeopardy of being compromised or altered. Get access to, or control of, written files and notes. Capture and freeze access to electronic files and emails.
The HR Investigations Workshop will teach you how to avoid legally devastating mistakes and create investigation practices that can save the reputation of both you and the organization.
Learn more and register now.
Gathering the information
Keep an open mind. Learn from information as you gather it, so you can expand or shrink the scope of the investigation accordingly.
First, review all pertinent documents, emails, data and files. This will almost always include the personnel files of involved employees. Gather supervisors’ notes.
Then, schedule and conduct interviews. Give yourself time in between interviews to make notes and reflect.
Reaching a conclusion
Once you have gathered all the information you can, management decision-makers need to reach conclusions and decide on what action to take.
At that point, it’s appropriate to meet with the employee or employees who brought the issue to the organization’s attention. Tell them that management has looked into the complaint and taken action that should address their concerns. Invite them to report any follow-up concerns. Then periodically contact them to find out if any new problems or issues have arisen.
Register now for our webinar, HR Investigations Workshop: A Guide to Legal & Effective Inquiries. In just 75 minutes, you’ll receive a step-by-step game plan to handle your next investigation in the most expert way possible. You’ll learn:How to select the right investigator
How to proactively plan and organize each phase of the investigation
How to avoid the most common investigation mistakes
Best-practice tips for interviewing witnesses so you get the whole story – and the truth
The do’s and don’ts of documenting a workplace investigation
Plus, ask YOUR questions about the structure, process and follow-through of workplace investigations.
Registration Bonus! You’ll also receive 5 FREE issues of The HR Law Weekly newsletter. Every Wednesday, our team of attorneys and HR pros reviews the latest case law and regulations that may impact you. We’ll also show you how to “lawsuit-proof” your HR practices – from avoiding handbook mistakes to training managers on hiring and firing the right way, and much more.
Register now and get your FREE issues of The HR Law Weekly.