Despite your best efforts, complaints and internal issues will sometimes arise in the workplace. In these instances, a thorough investigation of the situation can vastly improve the chances of a favorable outcome for your company. For instance, the information you uncover can help build a case and/or protect your firm’s hard-earned reputation. If you’re dealing with a potential problem, such as employee theft, fraud or drug abuse, here are 7 steps to conducting a successful workplace investigation.
Identify areas of concern. Everyone in management should understand what the signs of potential problems are so they can notify the appropriate parties and action can be taken. For minor issues for which employees all agree that what occurred isn’t of significant concern, a full-blown workplace investigation may not be necessary. In most cases, however, it’s usually better to err on the side of caution.
Act swiftly. The moment a potential internal problem is identified, it should be addressed. Waiting to conduct a workplace investigation could cause further issues. For example, not properly looking into reports of potential employee drug use or theft could result in everything from a decrease in morale and higher turnover to loss of revenue.
Enlist the help of an experienced investigator. Unless your business employs an individual or team that is specifically dedicated to internal investigations, enlisting the help of a trained, experienced professional to conduct the workplace investigation may be the wisest choice.
Plan the investigation. Having a well-thought-out plan of action in place beforehand can do wonders for ensuring that a workplace investigation goes as smoothly as possible. Obviously you can’t plan for everything, but you should at least have a framework from which to work. If you’ve hired a private investigator, this will likely be part of his or her initial investigation process.
Gather and evaluate evidence. While your goal should always be achieving a resolution without the need to go to court, sometimes litigation is unavoidable. That’s why gathering adequate evidence is so important, whether it’s documentation, photographs or sworn statements. The more legwork you do to bolster your case, the better the outcome will likely be.
Document everything. Each step of a workplace investigation should be well-documented. This, in effect, will cover your business should any questions arise down the road, particularly if the case ends up in front of a judge. A strong case will have all the documentation needed to back it up.
Follow up. The actual follow-up needed after a workplace investigation is conducted will vary based on the situation, but it should always be a part of the overall process. For instance, in the case of employee drug abuse, follow-up should be done to ensure that the situation has been resolved and that other team members are satisfied with the outcome.
Do you need assistance with an internal workplace investigation? Give us a call and let’s discuss how one of our experienced private investigators can help.