This is a question we ask often, and it tends to take people by surprise. Why? Because they are not sure. After 25+ years of conducting HR investigations, I understand the reasons why we don’t continue to talk with employees after an investigation is complete. It’s better to let sleeping dogs lie. Or is it?
As HR is finding new focus on strengthening company culture as a strategic step toward more effective recruiting, retention, engagement and employee development, we are finding new and better ways of receiving feedback from employees on their total work experience. Unfortunately, this does not yet seem to have made its way to matters of accountability, investigations and discipline as discussed in The HR Happy Hour Podcast.
In our company, we talk to HR professionals about their investigation practices every day. And we see consistent patterns in the feedback we receive about the investigation process. But when we ask how employees feel after an investigation, there is often silence. Some will say, “Nobody feels good after an investigation”. We’ve even heard strong statements such as, “Just the word investigation makes our employees feel like criminals”. And there are those times we hear, “I think they feel okay about it”. But wouldn’t it be better to know how they feel rather than to guess?
Small Changes have a Big Affect
Bad feelings fester. It’s just part of being human. Think about how you feel after a conflict, argument, bad customer service experience or even simply being cut off in traffic. That anger and frustration carries with you for some time. Now think of the relief you feel when the person who cut you off waves and says sorry, or the sales person apologizes and says they didn’t mean to snap at you, they got stuck working a double shift and are just exhausted. This immediately changes how you feel about the incident.
Asking for feedback after an HR investigation does not need to be another big task on your list of things you simply don’t have time for. It can be as easy as creating a brief email template that you send out to every participant each time you complete an investigation. Here’s a sample you can use to get started.
HR Investigation Follow Up Sample Letter
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for participating in the investigation we just concluded because I understand it can be a bit uncomfortable at times. The process is here to ensure our workplace is fair, safe and respectful for everyone. So, if you could please take a moment to reply and respond to the three questions below, I would really appreciate your opinions. The information will not be shared and will provide me with the insight needed to continue to refine and improve the investigation process moving forward. Thanks for your time.
- Was the investigation process what you had expected from the beginning?
- At any point in the investigation did you feel disrespected, uncomfortable or unsafe?
- Do you have any suggestions on how the investigation could have been a better experience for you?
If you would like to talk in person, please let me know and we can schedule a few minutes. Thank you again.
If you conduct post investigation feedback or have any questions on how this works, please comment below so we can all benefit from each other’s experience.
Did you know you can reduce time by up to 40% using an automated, consistent process?
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