Investigation Service


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

Before commencing

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.


2.      Communicate

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.

Investigation Report

5.      Situation

Outline the circumstances surrounding the problem.  Keep it brief and make it precise.

6.      Complication

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.

9.      Findings

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

Passionate about business

Whilst preparing for the HR Connexions (Pobol yn Gwaith) Christmas party, I took the opportunity to reflect on the last 2 years of business. As a result, I came up with 5 items that I can only describe as personal passions…
Passionate about people – I really don’t think you can work in Human Resources (the people agenda of organisation) if you do not feel this way. But it is more than this. My friends (you know who you are) have been there for years, they are supportive, they are a fantastic sounding board, they provide great advice and, at the end of the day, they are there for a glass of wine (or 2). I have also worked with an interesting, eclectic, diverse group of people from whom I have learned loads.
Passionate about challenge – I have worked within the HR function of organisations for years and realise that some of the people issues are complex and difficult. It is great and personally fulfilling when I work on a project with an organisation and help make a difference (MAD) to the day to day working environment. When people are happy at work they are more successful and enjoy life more, and as a result the accomplishments of the organisation will and do improve. This is what gets me up and going for it in the morning!
Passionate about getting the right result – You might call this working with integrity. The correct, precisely right answerer can be elusive, particularly when you are working with different types of organisations and cultures; there are so many facets that have to be into consideration. But I enjoy the research, on the subject of good practice, to discover what other organisations are achieving, adapting to the issue in hand. In particular, I relish the discussions with managers, staff, customers and trade unions to ensure that all points of view are taken into account. I make use of the Stephen Covey 7 habits of highly effective peolple, particularly Synergize: Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Also, when people have the confidence to tackle issues, they are far more likely to get it right.
Passionate about change – Like many people I have approached change with apprehension and sometimes with scepticism. After much research and to-ing and fro-ing, I have really enjoyed embracing the social networking required to ensure HR Connexions Wales has a viable presence on the net. Had you asked me 2 years ago would I be tweeting, the answer would have been a definite NO! But now… I love it! I enjoy the updates, the immediacy, the access and the amount of information that is available – brilliant!
Passionate about fun – …and those of you who know me well will not be surprised to hear about this passion. I do not see the point of work unless it is enjoyable. It does not mean that every day is a bundle of laughs, but there should be a sense of enjoyment, achievement or making a difference in what you do.

I prefer the term personal passions as opposed to values. The latter makes me think of supermarket value for money brands. What do you think? Please let me know your views at

More talking less tweeting!

I was sitting in the hairdresser the other day (I was going to be there for 2/3 hours – a long job).  I felt quite smug that I had a smart phone.  I could keep up to date with my clients, reply to emails, send twitter messages… And it suddenly struck me that somewhere between sending emails, tweets, status updates we have lost the art of proper conversations.

Amanda (@Ken Picton )my hairdresser was busy fiddling (I was hoping for a transformation) away on my hair and we had not caught up on the gossip and holiday news.

It illustrates the point that when you work from home, we increasingly cut ourselves off form real conversations.

There is lots of research on the web;  how to find your blog voice, communicating online but one piece of research that resonated with me was The Power of Communication by Garcia.

This research took me along the next steps:

I decided to just pick up the phone, skype when possible, speak to friends and colleagues with whom I had only been in email or text contact.  I had lovely chats and felt really happy catching up with friends.

Practise listening, we all want to converse with someone who is actually taking some notice.  Now this might sound obvious but how many of us have tried to have a conversation whilst skimming our emails or been distracted by something else?

When having a conversation, use silence, don’t just fill in the space.  You may need some time in order to respond appropriately.  Sometimes, when negotiating a business deal, silence at the right time will help enhance the offer.

There is a particular skill to ending conversations.  I can remember years ago attending a time management course (when they were in fashion).  Here I picked up tips about ending a conversation; looking at your watch, getting up and heading for the door.  A much better approach is to let your family and friends know how much time you have available.

I believe that social networking is a fantastic tool but there is no substitute for a good gossip and chinwag.

In business terms there is no substitute for good old fashioned one to one meetings, walking the job, regular updates, meetings… watch this space more about communication at work in later blogs.

Building high performing teams

Hi there, and welcome to my first blog (with thanks to @mrsmoti for the motivation!).  I am Dorothy Johnson, Director of HR Connexions Wales, and over the course of my posts I’ll be sharing some fascinating HR case studies. We start with the subject of how best to build a high performing team…

I recently led such a team (Dotalena) that completed a task that was way beyond their normal day-to-day experiences.  The task? To cycle over 160kms along the Avon and Kennet canal (read Alison Love’s account of the trip here).  The result? A resounding success!

So why was the team so high performing and the trip such a success?

  • It was a Big Challenge – This task was way out of the comfort zone for all team members.  A training plan was devised to ensure that everyone was bike fit.  Advice was sought about bike maintenance, and there was lots of preparation and discussion about luggage carrying (a real challenge as everything had to be carried on the bike!).
  •  There was passion – They are an energetic, determined and focused group.  There was a tangible get-up-and-go attitude between team members.  Not only was everyone absorbed in the task to be performed, but each person developed a positive energy to find the right solutions to overcome the challenges.
  •  There was a sense of fun – There was much discussion about suitable accommodation arrangements along the route, which even included organising the white wine to be ready and waiting in the fridge!
  •  They had space – To be themselves!  This team would have been unmanageable!  Now will Dr Paul Thomas (@businessdocme) sympathise? The team leader was self appointed, and over time it became clear that other roles (technical director and security director) were sorted naturally.

This example reinforces my view on successful teams.  If people see a challenge in what they do, have a passion to perform, and have space to create magic, they will succeed.  This challenge had nothing to do with financial reward, and in work we must not underestimate the importance of autonomy, mastery and a sense of purpose.  Given the right opportunities, people always achieve.

The HR departments in today’s organizations are not waiting for financial recognition.  They are passionate, self driven and often self organized.  Is it not time organisations tapped into them? See our ‘HR on the Board‘ course to understand how to build a high performing HR team that will deliver impressive results, aligned to your business objectives.