Is Your Investigator More Biased Than You Think? Part II: How to Keep Truthiness Out of Your Workplace Investigations 7-19-17

Bruce’s Summary: I mentioned in my Part I overview, that having been in industry for some 35 years and working from the ground floor (brick and mortar) to the executive suite has provided me with a birds eye view of the how organizations get themselves in trouble because basically the culture, morale and engagement all start and finish in theexecutive suite. The biggest challenge was always keeping the opinions where they belonged, out of the investigation. I can’t tell you how many times I had the conversation that opinions are not policy. Even today as a consultant offering mentoring/coaching, conflict resolution and internal investigations services, on numerous occasions this conversation had to be addressed. As in all discussions, it’s not what you say but how you describe the difference between the two.  

Both Part I and II would be great overviews to give organizational staff by their HR Executives. This is more the why and how of a good solid investigation. As I said in my overview of Part I, performing internal investigations has become one of the largest underlying potential cost items for business. If we don’t start off, as the author says with, “the person in the position to make decisions recognizes and can identify possible biases and takes steps to correct what might be negatively affecting the decision-making process” this will come out sooner or later at a cost and the potential embarrassment publicly for the organization. This shouldn’t have to occur. By reviewing the potential for bias early and either recognizing this may or may not be a potential issue, if felt an issue then the person making the decision can counter by bring in an outside neutral investigator. This is where the investigation should start.

The author offers “5 Corrective Measures” that are great reference points but also provides some excellent “Additional Tips” of good common sense to follow. This article is a little long but brings the needed depth for Internal Investigators and their HR Executive staff to understand what a potential slippery slope lies before them. Not that this wasn’t previously known, the two articles just clarify the subject matter. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.”

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