After a recent conversation with Michigan State University Professor Mark V. Roehling, JD, PhD on a multitude of topics I was encouraged by his statement to “always outsource workplace investigations.” It is a simple message Professor Roehling teaches all his students, yet, not many implement when they leave the classroom. Expanding on Professor Roehling’s statement you’ll find 5 reasons to outsource a workplace investigation to a third-party professional investigator.
Many employees in your organization do not trust internal investigators. Employees have seen and heard what the company has done to their colleagues and they believe their friends side of the story. With an outsourced investigator that barrier to trust is lower. A skilled investigator is disarming and able to receive information employees would never provide an internal investigator.
Internal management is busy and when that complaint is received an investigation must be launched without delay. The ability to take swift action is sometimes a challenge with an internal investigator. Outsourcing the investigation eliminates the distractions that the internal investigator manages daily. Distractions come in the form of meetings, deliverables, calendar reminders, phone calls, text messages, social media, a knock on the door, and more complaints to investigate. Ample opportunity exists for an internal investigator to be preoccupied and not be as attentive as necessary for a thorough and objective investigation.
Remaining impartial is a challenge for an internal investigator. When the complaint comes from a manager that is well liked or the internal investigator has an established relationship with the alleged offender it gets dicey. Outsourcing the investigation provides a neutral third party who is objective. The ability to remain impartial and facts focused is an advantage for an external investigator as there may be a conflict of interest with an in-house investigator.
Professional third-party investigators follow best practices. They are well trained and able to document the complaint and its timeline, keep confidentiality, conduct quality interviews, and provide recommendations on reasonable corrective action(s). Hiring an external investigator mitigates the risk of errors in the investigation process.
Internal investigators have duties and responsibilities that are not accomplished when they are executing an investigation. The cost of a haphazard investigation that leads to litigation is much higher than hiring an external investigator. It comes down to pay now or pay later. Investigations outsourced save a tremendous amount of money by avoiding the lost productivity time. As well as averting litigation, upholding a company’s brand, and maintaining workplace morale.