Conducting Investigations in Times of Crisis
- May 21, 2020
- Posted by: wmnetwork
- Category: workplace
During times of crisis and change, there is often an increase in workplace complaints and grievances. Despite the current circumstances,
“employers are still required to treat employee complaints seriously”,
Particularly when they involve
allegations of bullying or harassment.With HR practitioners under increased pressure to manage and support their business partners, investigation of allegations or conducting workplace inquiries can be put on hold until a ‘better time’. However, delaying resolution of these issues can increase workplace disruption and damage employee wellbeing in the long term.
Through use of online meeting technology such as Zoom, MS Teams or Skype, investigations can proceed remotely. This means that matters can be resolved quickly, so employees get back to helping the business and their colleagues through the current crisis.
A recent Australasian Association of Workplace Investigators practitioner’s webinar highlighted that “when conducting remote investigation interviews planning is crucial”.
- consider conducting a brief preliminary interview with each party
- ensure they are comfortable with the technology
- talk to them about the process to help them feel at ease about the upcoming interview
- provide an information sheet/FAQs covering issues you might normally go through at the start of the interview
- have contingency plans in place in case of technology failure.
In many cases, interviewees may be working from home. This means you’re effectively entering their home be respectful.
- Ask about their situation – do they have home schooling responsibilities or other potential disruptions?
- Ask if it’s possible to arrange a time and place where they won’t be interrupted
- Consider if the interview need to be undertaken in a couple of short sessions (rather than a single, long interview)
If you’re too busy to focus on conducting an investigation at this time, or if you feel an external Investigator will increase perceptions of impartiality, Workplace Management Network are able to help. We can provide remote Workplace Investigation, Workplace Inquiry, Dispute Resolution and Mediation Services using online meeting platforms (such as Zoom).