In many cases, particularly in relation to workplace investigations around bullying complaints against managers, there is a perception that the perpetrator will be ‘protected’ by upper management and that an internal investigation will be biased in some way.
In these situations it is important not only to ensure that the process is fair and unbiased but also that there is no perception of bias. If the parties to the complaint are satisfied that the workplace investigation has been undertaken by an independent workplace investigator with expertise in the area of workplace misconduct investigations, they are much more likely to accept the outcome.
Benefits of Independent Workplace Investigations
Aside from eliminating the ‘perception of bias’, using an outsourced workplace investigator has several additional benefits:
- Workplace investigations are time consuming. An independent workplace investigation will free your staff up to focus on their core responsibilities
- A trained and experienced workplace investigator will follow the correct process, ensuring there are no problematic issues around procedural fairness, evidence handling, interviewing technique and statement taking, issues that could come back to bite you later
- An experienced workplace investigator will know how to analyse evidence, sorting fact from hearsay, to make solid and reliable determinations
- An external workplace investigation will be focused and timely. An independent workplace investigator will remain focused solely on the matter under investigation until completion, ensuring that it is dealt with as quickly and thoroughly as possible
- An independent workplace investigator will have the benefit of years of experience knowing from experience, how best to handle the many ancillary issues that can arise during an investigation such as confidentiality breaches, evidence tampering, intimidation of witnesses, workplace gossip etc…to ensure the matter is locked down and under control.
Our Process for Conducting Workplace Investigations
Since our establishment in 2012, Synergy has built a solid reputation in the area of workplace investigations, having conducted several hundred workplace investigations from factory floor to board level, across a wide range of industries from education to mining.
While our approach to every case is tailored upon the unique circumstances of the matter, our usual process is first to discuss the matter in depth with you then;
- obtain a Terms of Reference setting out the scope of the investigation. We can assist with this process, where required;
- collect preliminary documents such as complaint material, file notes, relevant policies and procedures;
- formulate an investigation plan;
- commence interviews, first with the complainant/s, then with witnesses, the Respondent and finally any witnesses named by the Respondent;
- analyse all evidence collected;
- request further documentation, if necessary;
- make findings and complete a detailed investigation report; and
- conduct a final debrief with the client, advising on ways to provide involved staff with post investigation support