Let’s look at a few facts that can colour your investigation work shall we?
- You don’t have enough time in your day to do all the work in front of you now – to do what’s expected of you.
- Your boss doesn’t understand the importance of a thorough investigation and so demands ongoing job responsibilities be met, while you’re attempting to investigate.
- You wish someone else could handle this investigation work, for it makes you uncomfortable.
- You don’t know if the complaint of harassment fits under your corporate policy definition.
- There’s a complaint – that represents a problem that has to be dealt with right now before things get worse so let’s get in there and get the job done NOW!! Complete the job, finish the job, NOW! Hurry, Hurry.
Do any of these statements resonate with you? So often a corporation will rush through an investigation because of a variety of reasons, reasons they believe are valid, reasons that are more important than conducting a thorough investigation.
Time after time we see investigation work that is incomplete, rushed or simply inadequate because the investigator has not followed through on a line of questioning; has not interviewed all the pertinent witnesses or has not traced all the evidentiary material.
An incomplete (non-thorough) investigation can cause havoc to a corporation not to mention the primary parties involved in the dispute. What can happen as a result could be a variety of reactions from:
- one or both of the primary parties resigns from the corporation – thereby losing a trained, valuable resource, one that requires replacing and retraining
- the conclusions of the investigation are erroneous – and one of the parties moves the complaint outward into another jurisdiction and the corporation loses control of the outcome
- the investigation is non-conclusive – leaving both primary parties unhappy, stressed and angry – usually directed at the investigator and the corporation
- the wrong party is found to be at fault – opening the door for legal action or again, action taken outside the corporation’s jurisdiction
There are many negative outcomes to pursuing an investigation and then not thoroughly completing it, dotting all those i’s – crossing all those t’s. People’s lives can be negatively impacted in a major way. All of that and more rests on the investigator’s shoulders – can you bear the burden? Can you take the time to do a thorough job? Can you ensure the work you do is excellent? Can you stand tall knowing the work you do is important to yourself, the parties involved and your corporation and take pride in a job done thoroughly? Only you know the answer to these questions – until they are tested in another jurisdiction – then many others will know the answer too.