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A Common Ground – Caring About Your Workplace

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Some lessons shared during our recent session

I have just returned from an excellent three day session in Halifax with some great new friends! I certainly enjoy being able to take the time to learn from our participants and to share some of the insights into the formal Harassment Investigation process which I have put together over the years. Once again, I heard our process was applicable to all sorts of conflict and interviewing in the workplace! In addition I learned that several of the class were Toronto Maple Leaf fans! We had a lot of fun talking hockey at the start of the NHL season!

For those of you not familiar, our training has a heavy involvement of highly trained and professional actors. Participants are never asked to take on a foreign role as an “angry” employee or anything of the sort, rather are asked to be who they are at work, professionals investigating a case. This approach has quite a few positive benefits, including enabling an immersive training experience which shifts the learning from academic and lecture based to real world competency building based.

Some of the questions my new friends had when they arrived on Monday morning were: What is a formal process to investigate cases in the workplace, how much information should we give Complainants, Respondents and Witnesses, what are some interview techniques and tools, how do we handle conclusions and recommendations and how to handle complaints that come in when the person does not want anything done. I am happy to say these were answered in depth during the course, with a whole lot of excellent dialogue.

Some particular points of emphasis in the training session were: How to prepare for an investigation and interview, how to phrase questions, how to handle new information, how to process the information received and how to conclude based on the evidence presented. We had some meaningful discussion about the concepts of credibility, “he said-she said” cases, what to include in a mandate before the interview begins and consistent practice. I was able to highlight some questions that were right on point and some that were a little different than I might ask. We had conversations about style and subtle changes of body language and question phrasing…overall a really great class!

I think one of my key take-aways was that we all want to do a great job with these investigations and we care about our workplaces. Sometimes we just need to slow down a bit, ask ourselves why we are doing things a certain way and determine if it is the way we should be going. Thank you Participants for learning with me this week, stay in touch, and…Go Jets Go!

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