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, hiring of a dedicated team of forensic experts is crucial. 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 happens with various loopholes, 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 there below. So, let’s begin knowing each one of them in detail.
Confidentiality: While carrying out the investigation process, every aspect should be confidential. The maintenance of confidentiality is important and is directly proportional to the integrity of the investigation. Lack of confidentiality in the process directly leads to serious consequences. Some of the consequences include damage to someone’s reputation. The success of the investigation can be doubtful, the company may face negative publicity, information disclosure can cause retaliatory action, etc.
Proper Mindset: The primary attribute 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 there after investigaion. 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: We can experience professionalism when the investigators conduct a workplace investigation process with fairness, integrity, and diligence. The professionalism of the organization reflects in the way how we conduct the investigation. Sometimes, the reputation of the investigators shows the integrity of an investigation.
Other Aspects to Keep in Mind to Conduct Workplace Investigation
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 not be partial.
Competence: During the process of workplace monitoring, the quality of the examination depends on some principles i.e. competence of the examiner. Investigators must have years of experience & 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.
Phase #1 Initial Objectives
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.
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.
Phase #2 Advance Operations
6. Gather Evidence
The most important part to conduct workplace investigations 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.
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 record (written) of future misconduct (assumption) that the same employee executes.
10. Follow Up
The final step to conduct a workplace inspection is to follow up with the employee to ensure the genuine problem resolving with the proper investigation process.
Every workplace investigation has its own different scenarios, challenges, and outcomes. However, it is very important to conduct workplace investigation process professionally & consistently to yield better results. In the above section, a complete guide explains & leads to the right path to handle and conduct workplace monitoring effectively in an authentic manner.