Workplace Investigations - getting them right first time
With a team of some of the top investigators drawn from across the UK, you can be assured that your investigation will be thorough, fair, robust, and highly effective.
Since the first investigation in November 2019, we have used The TCM Group a number of times to conduct investigations on our behalf and every one has been conducted promptly, the turnover is really quick, and outcomes fair and impartial. They have also identified areas where we could improve our processes and we continue to work with them in this area. I would thoroughly recommend TCM to support any business.” Lyn Elliot, Head of HR, Cygnet Healthcare.
If you require a professional investigation undertaking into a complex situation in the workplace, we are here to help. We have a panel of some of the top workplace investigators in the UK comprising former senior police officers, HR Directors, and lawyers. They are all specially trained to investigate a wide range of misconduct issues plus bullying, harassment and discrimination allegations.
We are proud to offer our customers a bespoke and high quality workplace investigation service which will ensure that you, the employer, can pursue a course of action which is compliant, consistent and credible.
No one wants to have to do an investigation. But sometimes it is the only thing to do and it is the right thing to do. In these cases, our advice is to get it right first time. The stakes are too high to try a bit of DIY investigation or detective work.
Our professional investigators deliver an impartial, fair, structured and rigorous assessment of the evidence relating to an allegation or a series of allegations.
Download a copy of our Investigation Services Brochure
What happens during a workplace investigation?
Each investigation is different and is tailored to the specific needs and circumstances in each case. However, our unique “TRIAGE Approach” sets out a basic framework for the investigation:
The most important aspect of an investigation is to understand what is to be investigated. This is why the terms of reference for the investigation are paramount.
- Our investigator will review the complaint clearly and identify what is being alleged.
- We will then agree with your commissioning manager on what is to be investigated and within the scope of your remit.
- For more complex complaints, our investigator will identify common themes, to provide succinct areas for investigation.
Our investigator will next review all the necessary documentation. This includes the initial complaint or allegation, and all relevant organisational policies and/or procedures.
- We will make a list of all the individuals who are to be interviewed as part of the investigation process.
- Our investigator will then outline realistic, achievable timescales in light of the complexity of the case.
- Before commencing interviews, we will ensure that we have available, and have read, any and all policy documentation which is relevant to the case.
A good proportion of evidence that the investigator will analyse will be drawn from witness interviews, so excellent interviewing techniques are essential. Our person-centred approach focuses on creating an open and safe environment that enables witnesses to feel comfortable sharing as much information as possible.
- We interview the complainant(s) first, followed by the respondent(s), and subsequently all identified witnesses.
- A typical interview will begin with open questions to allow each party to give an open account of what has happened, before using closed questions to address key details.
Analysing the documentary evidence at hand prior to undertaking any further interviews, or evidence gathering enables the investigator to establish any potential flaws in the early stages of the investigation.
- We will draft a list of additional evidence that you require based on the initial information gathered. This may include digital evidence such as emails and CCTV footage.
- At this stage, we may also explore alternative solutions. For less serious cases, it may be evident that, for example, mediation may be a more suitable resolution approach.
Gathering evidence in a timely manner is important, particularly if such evidence is time-critical. Some organisations only store CCTV images, for example, for a set time period and so it is important that we identify and gather evidence swiftly.
- Our interviews are used to identify any additional evidence that may be important to the process.
- We will then request additional pieces of evidence as soon as possible, to prevent unnecessary delays.
In all workplace investigations, the investigator will collate all the information and evaluate their findings based upon the “Balance of Probabilities”. The commentary of our rational and findings will be clearly constructed within an investigation report in a way that a layperson could read.
- We always include an initial ‘Executive Summary’ at the beginning of the report, that outlines the key findings in a clear and concise manner.
- Another expert investigator will proofread the Investigation Report prior to its final submission.
- Our team will be on hand to answer any questions you have in relation to the report after it has been submitted.
The FAIR Investigation Model™
Advocating a compassionate, empathetic and non-confrontational approach
TCM’s FAIR Investigation Model™ advocates a compassionate, empathetic and non-confrontational approach for interviewing and investigating. That’s not to say the process isn’t rigorous, challenging and highly effective. However, experience has taught us that parties who feel threatened in an interview release high levels of adrenaline and cortisol which means that they can become defensive, creating hostility or withdrawal.
Using the power of Positive Psychology during our interviews, we enable the parties to feel safer and more secure which has significant benefits for them, for the interviewer and for the investigation process as a whole:
- The investigation is less stressful, damaging and corrosive for the parties.
- Creating less stress, fear and anxiety means that we protect relationships between colleagues and managers.
- We may be able to interview less people to identify the truth which means that working relationships stay intact.
Online Investigation Services
The same high quality process, delivered remotely.
There are few industries that have remained untouched by digitalisation, and the field of workplace investigations offers no exception. The global coronavirus pandemic first forced us to migrate our services to the virtual space, but the offering remains a popular choice amongst our customers.
Sometimes, it simply isn’t possible to get all of the parties involved in an investigation into one location at a convenient time. Many businesses now have employees dispersed across continents; with managers leading team members who might have never met at all.
In other, more ‘traditional’ working environments, a customer may choose to have their investigation conducted in the virtual space. The process can help to put people at ease, speed up the process, and achieve exactly the same results as a face-to-face interview.
The key benefits of using our online investigation services include:
- A speedier and less disruptive process. It is often possible to arrange interviews more quickly online than it would be face-to-face, allowing for minimal disruption to parties’ daily roles.
- It can be more cost-effective. There is no need for travel/ venue/ accommodation expenses.
- The environment may be more comfortable for parties who are feeling vulnerable or stressed.
- The process allows for a global reach. Individuals, based anywhere in the world can be interviewed and participate in an investigation.