Everyone can think of at least one horror story they’ve heard about workplace behavior and the subsequent HR investigations. These instances not only impact the individuals involved, but can also have long-lasting impacts on the organization, its reputation, and its bottom line.
When handling workplace claims and conducting HR investigations, it’s important for professionals to follow an established protocol. We’ve compiled a list of things to do and not to do should your organization find itself handling an investigation.
Want to learn even more about HR investigations? Be part of our expert-led training, Conducting Successful HR Investigations, on March 10.
Don’t: Delay or Fail to Begin an Investigation
The clock begins ticking for professionals in human resources the moment a complaint is made. If it is later found that an organization failed to respond to a complaint or was significantly delayed in responding to a complaint, a court will view the organization unfavorably.
Do: Keep Detailed Records
HR investigations are complicated. Organizations will benefit from keeping accurate and detailed records during every investigation.
These records should include things like: the date when complaint(s) are filed, dates of investigations being opened, action taken, and others. It’s also important to keep these records on hand even after an investigation has concluded. Three years is the general rule of thumb for keeping such records.
Retaliation is a violation of the law. If the individual who files a complaint sense they are being retaliated against, an organization will have a much larger issue on their hands than the original complaint.
Do: Ensure Confidentiality
Confidentiality is critical to a successful HR investigation. All activity related to the investigation should take place in a private setting. Careful notes should be taken and all related records and paperwork should be stored in a secure place.
Don’t: Fail to Reach a Conclusion
After conducting a thorough HR investigation, employers are expected to reach a conclusion. Consider all the evidence, parties, and other related information before making a determination and communicating it to all who are involved.
Failing to reach a decisive conclusion – or failing to communication what that conclusion is – leaves the door open for misunderstanding, confusion, and additional problems.
Conducting Successful HR Investigations
Conducting successful HR investigations requires a great level of care on behalf of today’s human resource professionals. It’s important for organizations to stay alert to current trends, recent policy changes, and other issues that may impact HR investigations at their workplace.