Do’s and Don’ts For Workplace Investigations

workplace investigations vancouver

Is your workforce set up for success in 2023, or have you brought over a few lingering issues from 2022 that need to be addressed to move forward successfully? As employees continue to adjust to the transition back to the office or the realities of now permanently working from home, we’ll inevitably see brief periods of increased conflict and confusion. While certain aspects of internal conflict may be able to be mitigated before it escalates, oftentimes, workplace investigations are the best way to stop things from progressing and to restore balance to your office.

Partnering with a trusted partner like Pivot HR makes it easy to navigate workplace investigations and ensures that your resolution is ethical, as well as effective for all parties involved. Below, we’ll take a look at five dos and don’ts when handling an HR investigation. Read on to learn more!

Do: Follow All Policies and Necessary Timelines

Workplace investigations should be taken seriously regardless of how complex the matter is. Your team should have set parameters to handle workplace conflict, including who needs to be (and shouldn’t be) involved, what steps need to be taken, when certain things need to be filed and how resolutions need to be implemented once a conclusion is reached.

Do: Remain (Appropriately) Transparent

Conducting investigations can be difficult, especially when it comes to doing so in a manner that’s respectful and transparent for all involved parties. It is imperative that you maintain the utmost privacy and exclude anyone that does not need to be involved, but also vital that you maintain open streams of communication with those that do need to be involved. Let individuals know why they are being interviewed and the nature of the complaint, and be judicious in what details (if any) you reveal to witnesses. The objective here isn’t to be misleading or to withhold information but to make sure the right people have the right information as needed. Doing so protects everyone’s dignity and privacy in the workplace and helps circumvent retaliatory behaviour in the future.

Don’t: Put Things Off

It can be easy to push minor conflicts to the side, especially during busier seasons, but doing so is rarely worth the risk. When you see a problem begins to develop, don’t delay. If you act quickly, you may be able to reset issues before you need to involve an investigation. Even if you do end up needing to proceed, moving fast will make minimizing conflict significantly easier and expedite coming to a valid resolution.

Do: Ask Objective Questions

When conducting a workplace investigation, it’s typically best to leave the interviewing and evaluation to an external, trusted third party. Why? Because often, despite our best efforts, unintentional biases creep in. Having trained professionals like the team at Pivot HR handle your investigation keeps things objective and avoids the risk of accidental perceptions and bias creeping in.

Do: Document!

To protect your company, as well as involved employees, during a workplace investigation, you must document all proceedings and findings extensively. Your summary documents should include key details including the dates of any incidents, interview notes and timelines, the title and roles of any involved participants, etc. The more detailed you are, the more protected you are should you ever need to provide information regarding your findings in a legal situation.

Don’t Go it Alone!

Navigating HR matters and workplace investigations doesn’t have to be difficult. Pivot HR is pleased to offer professional HR assistance across British Columbia as well as Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. Our HR experts are here to be your objective source for all kinds of workplace situations and to help you build a foundation of confidence and integrity within your organization. Contact us today to learn more.

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