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The Essentials of Workplace Investigation

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Language:  English
The principles of what makes a best practice investigation are considered and explained, including the need for thoroughness, impartiality and consistency.
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‘The Essentials of Workplace Investigation’ is written by an experienced practitioner who brings a pragmatic approach told in a clear and understandable style.

The principles of what makes a best practice investigation are considered and explained, including the need for thoroughness, impartiality and consistency. Good preparation is key and tips on how best to prepare are provided along with the concept of an Investigation Diary, an invaluable tool to ensure everything is kept on track.

A sturdy five step process is presented and described in some detail. The need to remain neutral in approach and open to what is being heard is discussed. In addition to the process a range of skills are included, such as active listening, summarising, analysing, structuring and writing the report.

There is a chapter examining the common things that can go wrong in poor investigations.

While not overly legalistic in nature, the eBook does include consideration of a number of cases and defines terms such as the ‘Burchell Test’. It looks at where to find additional sources of information apart from interviews.

Takeaways include a succinct summary of best practice investigation and a range of templates to be used as is or customised to the reader’s requirements.

  1. Introduction
  2. Principles of Best Practice Investigation
    1. Thoroughness
    2. Impartiality
    3. Respectful
    4. Natural Justice
    5. Within Boundaries
    6. Consistency
    7. Rigour
    8. Formality
    9. Facts
  3. Getting Started
    1. The Brief – Terms of Reference
    2. Investigation Diary
  4. Step 1
    1. Preparation of the groundwork and laying foundations
  5. Step 2
    1. Gathering data and scrutinising facts
  6. Step 3
    1. Analysing information and applying logic and reason
  7. Step 4
    1. Concluding with an outcome
  8. Step 5
    1. Reporting findings in a structured and clear manner
  9. Some Other Important Matters
    1. Mitigation
    2. Malicious complaint
    3. Hiring an external investigator
    4. HR Advice for the Investigator
    5. Learn from each investigation
  10. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    1. Lack of preparation and planning
    2. Little time allocated coupled with pressure to finish and report quickly
    3. Lack of necessary skills such as listening, probing, analysis
    4. Badly written report
    5. Lack of investigator impartiality
    6. Seeking more and more information in order to avoid concluding
    7. A word about mediation
  11. Investigation standards
  12. Conclusion
  13. Templates
About the Author

Brendan Schütte

Brendan Schütte is an investigator, mediator, adviser, consultant and trainer in workplace and organisational matters. With an extensive background in Human Resource Management and Development in the private, public and non-profit sectors, he has worked in Ireland, the U.K., Germany and Holland.

He is much sought after as an impartial, clear, respectful external investigator, as a pioneering and effective mediator and a supportive consultant and facilitator. In addition, he delivers training across a range of interpersonal skill areas.

Author of a book on mediation “Fixing the Fighting: A Guide to Using Mediation in Settling Disputes and Resolving Conflict in the Workplace." (Oak Tree Press, 2003), he has recorded an audio CD entitled “Active Listening – seven simple steps to better listening” in 2014, and has also written a number of interesting articles.

You can find out more about Brendan, his work and a range of articles he has written on his website: