Alison Love Ltd, HR Connexions Wales Ltd and Celtic HR Ltd have recently joined forces to offer an investigation service. Over the next few months we will be offering training in order to assist with some of the techniques required. Between us we have nearly 100 years of experience in dealing with all sorts of difficult situations in the work place. What we have learnt during this time will inform the training and enable us to provide an effective investigation service to organisations.
Before embarking on a career in HR, most individuals will say that they are interested in working with people. Let’s keep this in the front of our minds when dealing with investigations, because they are difficult, they are rarely without complications, and there are always two sides to any situation.
Here are our top ten points to help with the process of handling investigations
1. Background and preparation
It is really important to get as much background as possible. Not only will this inform your terms of reference, but it will also help you plan the investigation process. Outlining the procedure and main points of the investigation will help you communicate your course of action. It is essential that this is all visibly fair and balanced.
Make contact with all concerned in the process and, wherever possible, agree the terms of reference for the investigation.
3. Conducting the meeting
Handling investigation meetings takes skill and patience, and requires practise in anticipating and handling difficulties. Meetings should be conducted objectively, with a focus on the facts. Questions should be balanced and designed to provide information to inform the investigation report.
4. Taking and Agreeing statements/minutes of meetings
Statements should be clear, concise and objective, outlining facts and relevant feelings. This can be difficult to achieve, but it is important that everyone involved knows precisely what is being investigated, and why.
Minutes of meetings should follow the same format.
A decision on whether the record of the meeting is minutes or statements should be communicated within the terms of reference.
Outline the circumstances surrounding the problem. Keep it brief and make it precise.
Are there any complications? If so it is a good idea to summarise these in your introduction, making it clear that this will form part of the investigation. For example, how will confidentiality be maintained? Do any members of staff want to remain anonymous?
7. Summarise the situation and complication
Be as brief and factual as possible in order to ensure that the main points are clearly understood by all parties.
8. Individual concerns
There will almost certainly be a variety of individual worries and anxieties about the issues. These should be described in detail and in precisely the same way as they were described during the meetings and within the statements.
Think about how you can present the findings… perhaps in a table, or in a point-by-point list. This is the section of the report where you will outline the concerns and relevant issues, make an overall conclusion, and (where appropriate) make recommendations. It is in this section where the most important and relevant pieces of information and evidence will be summarized.
10. Next steps
Depending on the strength of the feelings involved or the evidence revealed in your report, this section may be irrelevant. But where mediation, coaching or training is recommended, it is here that you should outline the process and the ways forward.
This is only a brief introduction to handing investigations. You will learn much more on the training course. For more details including dates and a booking form, please go to http://www.alisonlove.co.uk/a/pdf/1.5_Investigation_Training.pdf