Human Capital Management

Top 5 Things to Consider When Conducting an HR Investigation

/ May 15, 2024 May 15, 2024


Embarking on an HR investigation requires a nuanced approach that balances compliance and organizational integrity. Here are the top 5 items to consider that help form the backbone of effective HR investigations.

  1. Ensure Confidentiality – It is necessary for HR to protect the confidentiality of employee claims to the best of its ability while conducting a prompt and effective investigation. However, it may not be possible to keep the information gathered completely confidential. Therefore, HR should explain to the complainant and all individuals involved in the investigation that all information gathered will remain confidential to the extent possible for a thorough investigation and any information shared with the accused and potential witnesses will be on a “need to know” basis only.
  2. Provide Protection to the Complainant – HR may need to take immediate action to protect the complainant or alleged victim by providing a change in schedule, transfer, or leave of absence. HR and the complainant must work together to determine an amenable solution if and/or when necessary. However, complainants should not be involuntarily transferred to avoid appearing retaliatory.
  3. Create A Plan and Execute the Plan – An investigation should be planned to be effectively and properly executed including but not limited to a) the development of interview questions and an interview plan, b) conducting interviews and gathering evidence, and 3) carefully reviewing the information and evidence gathered to make a formal recommendation at the conclusion of the investigation.
  4. Closure of the Investigation – HR should notify both the complainant and the accused of the outcome of the investigation. HR should also ensure the complainant knows that the organization took the complaint seriously and took appropriate action. Finally, HR should set a timeframe within which to follow-up with the complainant to ensure there are no further issues.
  5. Create a Written Summary Investigative Report – Proceeding under the guise that information from the investigation could be reviewed by a court of law, HR should prepare a final summary investigative report which includes:
  • The incident or issues investigated, including dates.
  • Parties involved.
  • Key factual and credible findings, including sources referenced.
  • Employer policies or guidelines that are applicable to the investigation.
  • Specific conclusions.
  • Party (or parties) responsible for making the final determination.
  • Issues that could not be resolved and reasons for lack of resolution.
  • Employer actions taken.

At Exude Human Capital our team of experts are here to share best practices as we review strategies that support your unique organization. We know that the best human resources consulting solutions are custom-designed to meet each client’s needs. For more information on Exude Human Capital Consulting and to schedule a complementary 30-minute consultation with one of our experienced professionals CONTACT US.