The phone rings and your answer is met by the unmistakable voice of someone from Human Resources. They want to schedule a meeting, and your mind scrabbles to imagine what could be going on. Responsible for hiring and firing—not to mention navigation a spectrum of other serious matters and investigations—the HR department is one with whom many employees would rather minimize their contact. You ask yourself: Why would HR call me? Let’s delve into the possibilities so that you can approach what comes next with a sense of readiness.
When Human Resources Step In
Of course, when someone from HR dials your number, there’s a chance that it is in regard to something entirely routine such as scheduling performance evaluations or implementing training and team-building programs. Equally, it could announce less-welcome news, like changes to benefits or compensation, news of a transfer, or the dreaded initiation of layoffs.
When that call comes without any warning from leadership, however, there is a good chance that the gears of an HR investigation are beginning to turn. Whenever something untoward occurs in a workplace—whether theft, a complaint, a dispute, or any form of criminality—it is the company’s duty to conduct structured and tactical corporate investigations, so what might these involve?
Types of HR Investigation
The diversity of incidents that might trigger an HR investigation vary in scope and seriousness. Many relate to corporate culture and might include things like workplace harassment or discrimination. A violation of workplace policy or code of conduct may have taken place, either in the form of direct employee behavior or actions recorded on social media and via other digital channels.
A spectrum of theft types might have taken place, spanning from time theft to asset misappropriation. On the most extreme end of the spectrum, white collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement might be under the spotlight. Here are some of the types of investigation that HR might take the lead on:
- Workplace harassment and bullying
- Sexual harassment and sexual assault
- Employee discrimination
- Time theft and malingering
- Theft of material assets
- Workplace violence
- Breaches of code of conduct
- Toxic corporate culture
- Non-compete violations
- Financial fraud, embezzlement, and forgery
- Whistleblower reports
Why Would HR Call Me?
Returning to your most pressing question: Why would HR call me? If an investigation is under way, it may be that your actions are under suspicion, but it might also be that your assistance will be integral to the fair and accurate conclusion of an HR investigation into colleagues working by your side. You might already be aware of something unsavory going on within your workplace setting, or you may unknowingly be privy to facts that will help crucial justice be served.
If HR calls you in this regard, in all likelihood you will be asked to make a statement and submit to a formal interview. Your employers may have enlisted the assistance of external corporate investigations services—this is particularly likely if the grievance is serious in nature—and so you may find yourself interacting with a skilled corporate investigator, who will guide you towards contributing as effectively as possible to proceeding.
Crucially, if you have done nothing wrong, then effective HR investigations will serve to safeguard the integrity of your professional standing and team while ensuring that the true offenders are held to account. If you’d like to know more, discover how Lauth Investigations International supports organizations across America in the pursuit of successful HR investigations. If mounting your own investigation, turn to experts you can trust. We are always just a click or phone call away.