Nowadays, most of the organizations have found it imperative to create their own investigation guidelines. For this, they assist employees from different corporate backgrounds (law, audit, finance, resources, etc.). As a result, it is important that employees in an organization should be aware of the investigation process. However, in order to conduct a hassle-free investigation, a dedicated team of forensic experts needs to be hired. Therefore, in this blog, we will discuss the proper and appropriate way on how to conduct workplace investigation.
If a company does not manage its work in an efficient way then it may affect the company’s reputation. Thus, we are going to discuss the step-by-step process to conduct workplace monitoring that makes the investigation process efficient and hassle-free for the organization. Nowadays, forensic investigators make use of smart automated solutions like Computer Forensics Tool to simplify the investigation process. It helps them to speed up the investigation process with accuracy thereby takes the least effort and saves a lot of time.
Some Basic Principles Forensic Investigators Must Observe
Every workplace investigation process has its own unique issues, dimensions, circumstances, challenges, and outcomes. Therefore, if an investigation is not conducted thoroughly and correctly, then it can lead to the worst scenarios. So, in order to start the workplace inspection, first of all, investigators should observe some basic principles that are explained below. So, let’s begin knowing each one of them in detail.
Confidentiality: While carrying out the investigation process, every aspect should be kept confidential. The maintenance of confidentiality is important which is directly proportional to the integrity of the investigation. If confidentiality of the process is not maintained then it can direct into serious consequences. Some of the consequences include damage to someone’s reputation, the success of the investigation can be undermined, the company may face negative publicity, information disclosure can cause retaliatory action, etc.
Proper Mindset: The primary attributes of conducting an investigation is to “Doubt” and investigator must be skeptical while conducting the investigation. They should never assume that the workplace management or employees are honest and telling the whole truth until the facts are collected and inquiries are completed. Moreover, they should have a strong imagination ability to develop sufficient theories that helps them to compare factual evidence. With all such things, investigators can discover the truth.
Professionalism: The essence of professionalism can be described when the investigators conduct a workplace investigation process with fairness, integrity, and diligence. The professionalism of the organization reflects in the way how an investigation is being conducted. Sometimes, the integrity of an investigation is judged by the reputation of the investigators.
Independence: While conducting the workplace inspection, investigators, decision-makers, and employees should protect the company. Moreover, the investigators must be free from actual or apparent bias including the conflict of interest. One can say that Independence means everyone should get a fair chance. To be more precise, the investigation process must be conducted without any partiality.
Competence: During the process of workplace monitoring, the quality of the examination depends on some principles i.e. competence of the examiner. Investigators must be experienced and should have the expertise to conduct a credible investigation. Moreover, they should have complete knowledge about managing the documents and records, interviewing the witness, and maintaining any applicable privileges.
Timeliness: Each investigation is generally carried in a unique way that includes multiple levels of complexity and time requirements. Timeliness is a part of professionalism and it is an important aspect in the workplace investigation. The investigator must ensure to carry out the investigation precisely. All the innocent people should be cleared as soon as possible, continuing misconduct should be stopped immediately, etc.
Step By Step Guide to Conduct Workplace Investigation
Workplace inspection procedure becomes a seamless task, provided if it implemented precisely. Thus, in this section, we are going to explain how to conduct workplace investigation in a proper way by describing all the steps involved during the investigation process.
1. Decide Whether to Investigate or Not
Before beginning the investigation process, one must take time to decide whether there is a need to conduct the investigation or not. For instance, if all the employees agree on what happened or in case the problem occurred appears minor. Then, carrying out the investigation is not the right choice.
2. If Necessary, Take Immediate Action
If the situation is miserable then one must respond to the situation immediately and start conducting workplace inspection. Otherwise, it can harm the business and organization. Moreover, the matter should be looked at very closely. In case, if the situation is not prejudged, then actions should be taken by considering the complete situation. If it is something serious then immediate actions must be taken.
3. Choose an Investigator
Always choose an experienced investigator trained with advanced investigation techniques. An investigator with great expertise will be able to conduct workplace monitoring in a correct manner and resolve the case on-time.
4. Plan the Investigation
In order to plan how to conduct the workplace investigation, first, it is important to gather the information. The information should be related to the problem like an employee’s complaint, a superior’s report, written warnings, or any material which is associated with the problem. One must use this information as a guide to finding out what is being happened, which person should be interviewed, what to ask, any confidential documents, any witnesses, etc.
5. Conduct Interviews
The important process of the investigation is to gather relevant information in the most basic way i.e. asking questions to people. Most of the time investigations comprise of taking at least two interviews: one of the employees who accused of wrongdoing, and the other one is the employee who was the victim or complained. Sometimes, the need arises to interview witnesses who have heard or seen something vital.
6. Gather Evidence
The most important part of every workplace investigation process is gathering documents such as personnel files, email messages, company policies, etc. Apart from that, in some investigations, other types of evidence are gathered such as a weapon, photographs, or stolen items.
7. Evaluate the Evidence
One of the most challenging factors while conducting workplace investigation is when the witnesses disagree or contradict each other. Then, it becomes difficult to find out what exactly has happened. There are some proven methods using which one can decide where the truth lies. During the cybercrime investigation, the analysis of the collected digital evidence can be done efficiently with the help of Digital Forensics Software. Using this automated solution, it enables us to examine and extract hidden evidence from the digital data effortlessly.
8. Take Action
While carrying out the workplace monitoring, once the person is able to figure out what actually happened, then he/she has to decide what to do about it. If serious wrongdoing occurred, then take disciplinary action immediately to protect the company and other workers. While handling the situation, there is a need to consider a number of situations such as how serious the actions were, how the person handled similar problems in the past.
9. Document the Investigation
After completion of the investigation, one should prepare an investigation report that explains the entire situation. This will provide the company with some sort of protection from lawsuits related to the investigation. Additionally, in such a case, it should also provide a written record of future assumed misconduct that can be done by the same employee. The report must contain all the details regarding the problem i.e. from the day, the problem came to the company’s attention to what measures were taken to deal with it.
10. Follow Up
The final step to conduct workplace inspection is to follow up with the employee to ensure that the problem is resolved genuinely with the proper investigation process.
Every workplace investigation has its own different scenarios, challenges, and outcomes. However, it is very important to conduct a workplace investigation process professionally and in a consistent manner to yield better results. In the above section, a complete guide is explained which leads to the right path to handle and conduct workplace monitoring effectively in an authentic manner.