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Workplace investigations: Best practice tips for getting them right

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HC Online | 16 Jul 2014, 10:51 AM Agree 0
Conducting workplace investigations can be one of the most challenging parts of our roles as HR professionals. People+Culture Strategies managing principal Joydeep Hor shares his best practice investigation tips.
  • Bernie Althofer | 16 Jul 2014, 11:53 AM Agree 0
    It appears that one of the risks in relation to investigating workplace bullying is as has been identified in the above article i.e. the manager who starts an investigation without first having been trained.

    It is surprising that in this day and age that an organisation would have a well defined policy and procedure but fail to provide managers and supervisors with appropriate levels of training on how to respond to and how to investigate allegations or incidents of workplace bullying. In addition, failing to read the policy and procedures before commencing the investigation seems to be creating a situation that would go against the organisation.

    Whilst a manager might believe that it is appropriate to 'have a chat' with the parties involved in an incident or allegation, one never knows what systemic issues might be raised during the 'chat'.

    It does seem that as part of the bullying risk assessment, an organisation should at least be able to identify the likelihood of bullying occurring, and whether or not those with prescribed accountabilities and responsibilities for investigating incidents and allegations can provide an appropriate response.

    I suspect that where a target or even an alleged bully has some concerns about the investigation process, there will be an increased risk that the person conducting the investigation will be asked to justify their process.

    One should not underestimate the knowledge held by a target or alleged bully when it comes to an investigation and it might be the case that either or both these parties know more than the investigator.
  • Nancy | 17 Jul 2014, 10:37 AM Agree 0
    My organisation has a unit that conducts workplace investigations, however their investigations are always flawed. They do not hold the capability to undertake robust workplace investigations. The decision makers realise this, however they are still allowed to conduct these investigations. Which always results in a much longer and difficult show cause process, as the holes in the investigation report then need to be filled by the team running the show cause process. It's mind boggling how this incompetence is accepted and allowed to continue.
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