What message are you sending when you engage an external workplace investigator?
A very common comment that I hear from new clients is
“This is the first time we have used an external investigator”
Reasons for engaging an external investigator to deal with matters such as bullying, sexual harassment and other incidents of misconduct include, not having the available staff, not having the skill or expertise or not having the time, but often when I ask new clients they respond by saying
“We want to send a message that we are taking this complaint seriously”
Why is this so?
Obviously engaging an external workplace investigator to deal with matters such as bullying, sexual harassment and other incidents of misconduct involves an expense so what is the ROI?
1. You get an unbiased investigation. External investigators don’t know and the parties, they don’t have previous relationship and have no allegiances to complainants or respondents
2. External workplace investigators have the skill and expertise (assuming you engage a good one) to conduct the investigation in a timely manner.
3. Many external investigators are former police and are not easily intimidated by overbearing or aggressive respondents.
The message to respondents
This is serious!
On many occasions I have been told by clients, managers and HR managers that the respondent will be hard to deal with and aggressive with comments such as
“He’s an alpha male or he likes to win arguments by being the loudest and most belligerent”
I am yet to interview a respondent so described who isn’t a timid as a mouse.
It is human nature to be wary of the unknown, to a respondent the external investigator is the unknown, they will often do all they can to win the investigator over to see things their way.
A professional investigator will be objective and base their findings on the evidence only and will not by swayed or form opinions or preferences based on personality.
The message to complainants
The organisation is taking the complaint seriously, they are spending the money to bring in a professional.
Part of having an effective strategist to combat working bullying, sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct is having a trusted complaint reporting and investigation process.
Another common comment that I have heard, this time from complainants is;
“I glad you’re here and that something is being done.”
Not all complaints are substantiated however engaging external investigator ensures that you get a final report based on the evidence. A number of clients have reported to me that complainants more readily accepted an outcome that does not support their complaint when the matter is externally investigated.
Australian Workplace Training & Investigation (AWPTI) can provide expert, experienced and professional investigation services to assist your organisation when dealing with matters of bullying, sexual harassment or other forms of misconduct. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our web site that has full details of our services at www.awpti.com.au
It is important when engaging an external investigator to get the right one, this article may help – http://awpti.com.au/choosing-a-workplace-investigator/
We also provide a range of workplace training services both internally or via pubic courses – http://awpti.com.au/training/
AWPTI – workplace investigation Sydney and through-out NSW, QLD and Victoria. Workplace training national wide
Misconduct investigations, bullying investigations, harassment investigations & sexual harassment investigations, complaint investigations, grievance investigations, discrimination investigations