Explaining the Importance of a Workplace Investigation Process to the Board

Board of Directors Meeting

In this post #MeToo Era, Executives and Board Members alike may be feeling that the Sexual Harassment crisis is under control and therefore it’s back to business as usual. After all, training has been done, policies have been updated, and employees are clearly aware of the reporting process and seriousness of sexual harassment claims. But in many cases, there are two important facts that are being overlooked.

  1. The standard workplace investigation process is still antiquated and inconsistent;
  2. Investigations are required for many things, not just sexual harassment.

The media made the need for investigations very clear for sexual harassment claims. HR needs to make the case for a better, more consistent and civil investigation process. But when it comes to communicating this need to the Executive Team or the Board of Directors in order to obtain budget and procedural buy-in, HR can often be at a loss for words.

Recently a blog post was posted by Corporate Board Member on the risks and benefits of conducting internal workplace investigations that did a brilliant job of making a clear picture of the reasons why the board should support a strong investigation process, and regular use of the process for everything from legal violations to company Code of Conduct and Policy violations. Here’s a quick summary of the most important key factors. But I highly recommend reading the entire article yourself. The Risks and Benefits of Internal Investigations.

  • If handled properly, an internal investigation can prevent harm to the company.
  • An internal investigation is not just an emergency tool. Rather, it is a way to proactively deal with issues of compliance before they fester. 
  • An investigation can aid in:

Putting the company ahead of the problem,
Preventing other occurrences of the same issue,
Sending a positive message to stakeholders,
Leading to a (relatively) pain-free resolution with the government or whistleblowers, and
Establishing good corporate governance in the post-Enron era.

  • By conducting an investigation, the company demonstrates that it is taking the alleged wrongdoing seriously, and subsequent remediation demonstrates that it expects its employees hold themselves to higher standards by following all laws and company policies.
  • Failing to investigate may lead to increased scrutiny by government investigators and will strengthen the government’s resolve and basis for imposing civil and criminal penalties. 

When you’re ready to how an automated process can reduce liability and save time on every investigation, we’re here to help. www.investipro.com.