Handling Workplace Investigations Properly

workplace investigations bc

Have you recently uncovered the need for a workplace investigation? The reality of diverse workforces is that alongside the immense benefits of having unique individuals in your organization comes the challenges of differing personalities, opinions and backgrounds. Conflict, good, bad, or otherwise, is inevitable. Workplace investigations seek to bring truth to life in the event of a conflict and to ensure that all parties have an equal opportunity to be heard.

At Pivot HR, we know that navigating investigations and handling internal conflict can be incredibly challenging for businesses and organizations. Partnering with a trusted partner like our HR experts makes it easy to handle the ups and downs of human resources complaints and ensure that you’re compliant with all necessary standards. Below, we’ll take a closer look at a few key practices for handling HR Investigations. Read on to learn more!

What Are Workplace Investigations

Workplace investigations, as the name suggests, are geared toward investigating HR matters within a workplace. This process of discovery may come as the result of a specific incidence, repeated challenges, issues, or noted behaviours within the organization as a whole. At the core, a workplace investigation is geared to shine light on what’s going on and evaluate practices, employee relations, standards and guidelines. Common triggers for a workplace investigation include:

  • A bullying/harassment complaint and/or violent conflict
  • Breaches of policy
  • Investigation into interpersonal conflict

When investigating such matters, the following must always be front of mind throughout the entire process:

Objectivity and Equality

Whether you’re dealing with a 1-1 conflict or issues that involve your entire team, workplace investigations must be impartial (more on that in a moment) and fair for everyone involved. Your approach to the conflict must be compliant with all jurisdictional guidelines and seek to unearth as many details as possible to reach a fair, honest resolution.

Choose Your Investigators With Care

Since objectivity must be one of your greatest priorities, it is absolutely essential to ensure that those conducting the investigation are able to do so without any existing bias. In many cases, this requires partnering with an external HR consultancy like Pivot HR. Working with a third party gives you access to trained, impartial experts that know what to ask, where to look, and how to conduct themselves in such a way that the disruption to your workplace is as minimal as possible.

Act Promptly, Investigate Thoroughly

When it comes to HR matters, especially those warranting an investigation, time is of the essence. Don’t put off an investigation or drag your heels in the hopes that the problem will resolve itself. While it can often feel uncomfortable to move ahead in the process formally, it’s important to remember that sometimes the best way to protect your employees (as well as yourself) is to follow the right processes and move ahead with protocols.

To get the best result, you’ll need to do a thorough deep dive, ask some tough questions and demonstrate the willingness to listen and learn to prevent repeats in the future.

Protect All Parties Involved

Regardless of the circumstances behind your workplace investigation, all parties deserve respect and dignity. Take a zero-tolerance stance towards retaliation and make sure that everyone involved knows to behave with care and respect towards the rest of their team, no matter the outcome.


We cannot stress this enough; you must be sure to document as much of your investigation as possible. Not only for legal purposes but for internal records, employee files (as needed) and any other aspects that may be informed by the investigation. Failure to document can lead to significant issues and potentially even fines down the road.

Once the Outcome is Clear, Act Accordingly
Workplace investigations may not always be pleasant, but they provide us with the necessary information to move forward confidently. Once you have a verdict and know your information is fair and accurate, it’s time to act. All parties should be advised of the potential outcomes (when and where warranted), pending the results of the investigation, and thus should be able to be informed of the resolution (as it relates to them) without feeling blindsided.

Following an investigation, it’s also key for management and key executives to commit to a continued path forward, utilizing everything you’ve learned to build a better foundation for the future.

Workplace Investigations with Pivot HR

Pivot HR is pleased to offer professional HR assistance across British Columbia as well as Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. Our HR experts are here to be your objective source for navigating difficult workplace situations with confidence and integrity. Contact us today to learn more.

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