Have you been having a lot of complaints and issues at your workplace? If so, it’s advisable to follow the below workplace investigation steps to learn more about the issues.
A problem or complaint can occur at the workplace at any time. However, the best decision is to follow the proven steps of a workplace investigation to identify the root cause.
Below we have compiled an easy-to-follow 11 step process to follow for a workplace investigation.
1. Choose the Investigator
The first and foremost task is to choose a competent investigator to run the investigations. You can look for personnel with special training or knowledge regarding investigation techniques.
Also, look out for someone the employees see as unbiased because the subjective biases will alter the results. But if you don’t have such a resource, you can hire professional investigators for the job.
2. Plan the Investigation
An investigation is not something that will occur day and night. It requires time to organize your thoughts and think about the problem constructively.
If we talk about a problem in the workplace, you will first have to gather all the information regarding the issue. This information might include gathering complaints, warning letters, subordinate reports, etc.
From this evidence, you will be able to decide whom you want to interview and whether there will be a requirement for witnesses or not.
3. Develop the Scope of Investigation
Here you will need to evaluate how long your investigation will take and what results in it is expected to yield. This will also help you finalize the employment action you will be taking. Developing the scope involves drawing a conclusion.
Also, you should ponder the problem, as to whether it is worth investigating or not. You should analyze all the material and formulate your assessments according to the findings.
4. Conduct Interviews
This is one of the most important steps of the workplace investigation because, at this point, the investigator will have the most complete information. Here, the investigator needs to assess the credibility of the witness by asking questions.
The process starts by interviewing the employee who has filed the complaint and those involved in the act. The interviewing session might also involve those who were witnesses to the complaint. Try to elicit as much information as you can. Here open-ended questions generally work out the best.
5. Collect Documents & Other Evidence
In this step, you will need to gather all the documents or other evidence that will assist in the workplace investigation. This will include additional documents, emails, call records, etc. In rare cases, you might also have to look out for pieces of evidence like the use of weapons, drug abuse, photos, or any other items.
6. Formulate Allegations
Here the credibility of the individuals who have made the complaint will be questioned. As you already have all the evidence and resources in your hand, you will be able to ascertain whether the allegations are justified and worth considering.
7. Evaluate all Evidence
Now, what happens if the witness, the victim, or the perpetrator has a different recollection of the situation? This is the most challenging aspect, and the evaluation of the evidence will be required.
The key here is to go through all the evidence you have collected and thoroughly investigate it. The best approach here would be to use situational games to determine who is making the most sense and if any questions prevail, ensure you get to the bottom of it.
8. Take Action
At this stage, you already have sufficient evidence, and you know who did what. This is when you will know what action to take, and if the problem is serious, you will have to resolve it quickly.
Make sure the issue is solved quickly as possible, so it doesn’t impact the workplace culture. It would be helpful to consider how you have settled past events and consult your action plan toward them.
9. Document the Investigation
It’s beneficial to write down everything you did and how you did it. This will give you a detailed explanation of the complaint, how it occurred, and how you finalized the results.
Besides, this will also assist you to have a complete record of any possible legal processes in the future.
Also, you will have a record of the employee if they commit similar violations again. This report must contain all evidence used and the witnesses involved.
10. Follow Up
A follow-up is required to ensure the same issue never occurs, and the people involved have the necessary training to improve their behavior in the workplace.
For example, in harassment cases, training courses are a must.
11. Draft Final Report
This step will include all the implementations and procedures you have implied. It is an official report you will be formulating but remember not to disclose it to anyone to maintain confidentiality.
This report is essential for the decision-makers to analyze how they will take action. Moreover, it may be used in legal proceedings in the future.
To sum it up, workplace investigation is a thorough process that involves gathering evidence, selecting evidence, formulating the findings, and producing the final report. All these steps are crucial to making a just decision.
Hopefully, this article has assisted and you are ready to tackle everything that comes at you in the workplace!