By Trüpp

Addressing complaints in a timely manner is a crucial responsibility for HR professionals. However, the time and resources required for an investigation can significantly impact other priorities within an organization. Factors like the complexity of the complaint or the availability of those involved impact the duration of an investigation, which can create a prohibitive resource strain or even have legal ramifications. Here’s what employers need to consider when allocating resources for workplace investigations.

Understanding the time commitment

Workplace investigations demand a delicate balance between efficiency and thoroughness. While swift resolution is desirable, thoroughness is essential to ensure fair outcomes and mitigate legal risks. On average, a straightforward investigation may take approximately 2-3 weeks. However, complex cases can extend this timeline to months.

Several variables affect the duration of an investigation, including:

  • Complexity and severity: The intricacy of the complaint and the seriousness of the accusations impact the time required for investigation.
  • Availability of key parties: The availability of employees and witnesses affects scheduling interviews and obtaining relevant evidence.
  • Investigator availability: The investigator’s workload and availability play crucial roles in completing the investigation promptly.
  • Number of parties involved: Investigations involving multiple individuals or departments may require more time to gather information and assess various perspectives.

Key steps in a workplace investigation

Employers are required to adhere to a structured process to guarantee a thorough and fair investigation. This involves systematically gathering evidence, interviewing all relevant parties, and carefully analyzing the information collected. The goal is to ensure that all facts are considered and that any decisions made are based on accurate and complete information. The following steps are necessary for any investigation:

  1. Prompt response and documentation: Immediately document the complaint and initiate the investigation process.
  2. Assessment: Evaluate the need for an investigation based on the seriousness of the complaint.
  3. Decision on leave: Determine whether the accused should be placed on leave during the investigation.
  4. Planning: Develop a detailed plan outlining the scope, timeline, and methodology of the investigation.
  5. Selecting an investigator: Choose an impartial and adequately trained investigator with availability.
  6. Conducting interviews: Interview relevant parties and document their statements.
  7. Gathering evidence: Collect physical evidence and documentation supporting the investigation.
  8. Evaluation: Analyze the information gathered to determine the validity of the complaint.
  9. Summary for decision-makers: Provide a summary of findings to the appropriate decision-makers.
  10. Responsive measures: Take appropriate actions based on the investigation’s outcome.
  11. Documentation: Thoroughly document the entire investigation process and findings.
  12. Closure: Officially close the investigation and communicate outcomes to relevant parties.

Employers can ensure that the investigation is conducted impartially by following a clear and methodical approach. This will uphold the integrity of the process and ensure fairness for all involved. Learn more about how to conduct a workplace investigation here.

Capacity and training considerations

Employers must assess their team’s capacity and training to conduct workplace investigations effectively. Questions to consider include:

Leveraging external resources

For organizations facing resource constraints, lacking internal expertise, or looking to contain costs, outsourcing investigations to specialized firms like Trüpp can be beneficial. Trüpp’s team of investigators offers a unique advantage for teams of all sizes. Our experts take a structured and efficient approach to investigations with a deep understanding of legal nuances and best practices. Serving as an impartial third party, our team ensures unbiased outcomes during and after investigations for employers and employees who will continue to work together. Clients who partner with Trüpp for our retained workplace investigations services enjoy access to a team solely focused on workplace investigations with reporting dashboards to monitor investigations in real-time and identify trends.

Learn more about the advantages of engaging with an HR consulting firm for workplace investigations here.

The choice of how to conduct workplace investigations is critical for organizations to maintain integrity, foster a safe environment, and mitigate risks effectively. Internal investigations require significant time and resources. Employers must assess their team’s capacity and training and consider leveraging external expertise to manage investigations efficiently while maintaining compliance and fairness. By prioritizing the proper handling of workplace investigations, organizations can safeguard their reputation, protect their employees, and ensure a productive work environment.

Ensure employee complaints are always addressed quickly and compliantly