Some Common Errors to Avoid when Facilitating a Workplace Investigation

A workplace investigation (because of theft, allegations of sexual abuse, or any other serious misconduct) is a serious undertaking – a lot can depend on the outcome and have serious consequences. Hence, while it’s a project most people would try to avoid, it’s a necessary task that needs to be done with the utmost care.

Some Common Errors to Avoid when Facilitating a Workplace Investigation

One way to ensure success is to avoid the most common mistakes; avoiding these pitfalls means you’ve already won half the battle. Do you need to get to the bottom of a workplace incident? Here are some common errors to avoid when facilitating a workplace investigation.



The common attitude (unfortunately too common) of “I’ll get to it when I have time” is inappropriate when a serious accusation has been made. Never delay the investigation of a complaint or charge because it could have serious negative consequences. It’s probably impossible to get to the bottom of it immediately, but you should immediately put the right measures in place. Never delay.

Using the wrong investigator

Your investigator should not be biased; preferably, they should have nothing to do with the people involved and consider all issues without prior knowledge. They can assist specialists who understand the problems better to ensure the investigator is informed. In any case, choose the investigator wisely.

Not preparing enough

An investigation has to be planned carefully. What exactly do you need to know? What are the best means of obtaining the information you need? How can you deal with confrontation and witness accounts without having emotions flare up? Prepare, and do so meticulously. When having interviews, record them and have them transcribed professionally by services like

Not following up

During the investigation, some issues may come to light that wasn’t known about previously. Be sure to follow up on these so that you can receive confirmation. Never accept one source only.

Not maintaining confidentiality

Please keep it confidential. This is not only good for the people involved, but it’s a practical measure that should be taken for the investigation to have the best possible outcome.

One more severe mistake companies may make is thinking the case is closed without considering there might be backlash or retaliation. Disgruntled employees may go to court, appeal the decision, or raise further trouble in several ways. While they may be the trouble-makers, the company must stay on top of these situations and understand it’s just something they have to deal with. Handle the investigation carefully and avoid mistakes; it’s not a guaranteed way to success, but it guards against failure. It’s a battle half won.

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