Most organisations will have in place a comprehensive disciplinary policy that sets out the procedure to follow when there are concerns about an employee's conduct or performance. Most employers will also know that carrying out a thorough investigation is essential to prove that a fair procedure was followed. This can also be a distraction for staff charged with undertaking these investigations, when there are competing work priorities and responsibilities. Even so, many hearing appeals and claims for unfair dismissal succeed because of flaws in the investigation process.
These can range from a basic misunderstanding of the investigator's role, a failure to carry out a robust investigation due to lack of training and/or experience or excessive, unnecessary delays to the investigation process due to capacity issues. WorkforceOne has brought together a unique blend of expertise and experience to help organisations deal with workplace conflict, investigations and importantly, appropriate resolution.
With a dedicated specialist investigator allocated to each investigation, the need for managers to prioritise day to day tasks ahead of the investigation will be removed. Our four R's investigation framework (see below) offers robust quality assurance and oversight at every stage of the investigation cycle to ensure that it progresses at the appropriate pace. Clear measurable KPIs ensure the delivery of an effective and efficient investigation service, meaning those previously charged with carrying out workplace investigations are freed up to focus on their core service delivery. There will be no more juggling investigations on top of competing day job priorities. For the investigator, the investigation is their only priority.
Without doubt, being at the centre of a workplace investigation can have a long and lasting impact on those involved. Not only the person who is under investigation, but every person that the investigation touches. This impact on both individuals and your organisation cannot be underestimated. A key benefit of having access to dedicated specialists to carry out workplace investigations is the ability to expedite investigations and bring them to a close far more quickly. This reduces the time an employee is subject to an investigation process and, importantly, offers an independent platform for staff to openly discuss their issue.
Our sole brief is to investigate the facts of a case, collecting evidence, analysing and presenting it back to your organisation in a way that stands up to intense scrutiny. It is always presented in an objective manner and is carried out avoiding allegations of unconscious bias which can occur when internal employees carry out investigations within an organisation.
WorkforceOne has developed the 4 R's investigation framework (further details below). This draws on recognised national best practice and offers the consistency and continuity of highly skilled investigators operating within a structured, quality assured framework. The team draws on years of up to date relevant experience and, robustly operating within the 4 R's investigation framework, drives a consistent approach to each and every task we carry out within an investigation. Whether that is taking a statement, carrying out interviews or the style or format of our concluding report, each task and phase is subject to established quality assurance gateways. This level of consistency and expertise is incredibly difficult to achieve within an organisation when multiple employees are charged with carrying out isolated, standalone investigations on an infrequent basis.
The suspension of employees with pay during the investigation process, and associated back fill requirements combined with protracted investigations, can have a significant cost implication on any organisation. Our dedicated investigation service allows organisations to conclude investigations quickly and, as a result, reduces the cost associated with employees on suspension. A high number of employment tribunal claims succeed as a result of procedural failings or mistakes in the investigation cycle. Accessing specialist investigation and advisory services through WorkforceOne means those mistakes will be removed and will significantly reduce the likelihood of your organisation failing to robustly meet its investigation obligations. Also, our not for profit status means the cost of our services remains very competitive.
There are two key elements we consider in each and every investigation when it comes to organisational learning and development. They are:
The organisational learning that comes from a robust and consistent investigation service can, and should, be used to feed an organisation's policy and process development agenda. Using our collective knowledge and learning from across our wide client base, we work with organisations to identify and make recommendations to improve or safeguard internal systems and controls.
We understand why it’s critical for any organisation to carry out investigations and recognise the importance for them to be able to deal with conflict fairly, proportionately and quickly. In doing so, we recognise the impact to an organisation in being able to address morale, efficiency and competency issues effectively, while upholding their organisational values and standards.
Recognise is our first step to understanding and exploring the issue to be investigated.
At the outset of any workplace investigation we understand how critically important agreeing our remit is. Not just for the organisation, but also the person subject to the investigation. Our formal terms of reference will set out the remit of our investigator; with terms such as who the parties and potential witnesses are, how long the investigation should take and how the findings and recommendations will be presented in the final report.
We have the expertise to inspire confidence that the investigative process is being undertaken in a cost effective, timely and professional manner which stands up to legal scrutiny or any challenge from involved parties.
We hold debrief meetings with nominated organisational leads at the conclusion of every investigation, to ensure that the terms of reference have been met and to confirm that the findings appropriately address the issue that was investigated.
A well written, clear and logical report which presents cogent, unambiguous findings and recommendations (where appropriate) is the cornerstone of any good investigation.
We know for the report to be effective, it must clearly set out the facts as determined from the information gathered during the investigation and, importantly, must answer the agreed terms of reference.
All of our concluding reports are subject to a rigorous quality assurance process.
When an employee raises a concern, an organisation needs to ultimately resolve that workplace conflict. Our conflict management professionals can guide an organisation through the formal or informal options available, to provide a tailored resolution.
Our experienced mediation professionals can offer support to resolve conflict either before or after a formal process. Our investigators can work with the organisation after the completion of an investigation to offer support and guidance on any lessons learnt.
Following an investigation, if it is necessary for the organisation to instigate formal internal proceedings (including disciplinary or grievance hearings), our team members are very experienced at presenting management/investigation cases and appropriately dealing with external scrutiny and questioning.
Director of Operations
Sn. Workforce Solutions Manager
Workforce Solutions Manager
Head of Operations (Reactive)
Head of Operations (Proactive)