I just returned from the HR Florida Conference in Orlando, Florida where I was a guest speaker for a concurrent session titled: Employee Drama or Serious Complaint? Learning the Nuts & Bolts of Conducting an Internal Investigation. While attending the conference, I talked with quite a few HR professionals about the subject of investigations. As I had suspected, most of the folks I’ve talked with admitted that they fly by the seat of their pants when confronted with issues… And, they shared with me that a lot of the “drama” that they deal with is stuff that supervisors and managers should be handling.
In my presentation, I asked the question, “What percentage of the issues you deal with in HR do you feel should be handled by your managers?” The unanimous response was: “95%!” Now, I recognize that that may be a bit of a stretch and a little bit of humor immersed in that response. However, that response correlates to data that I collected in a study in 2009. In that study, the HR professionals I surveyed indicated that about 85% of the employee issues they deal with in HR should be handled by department supervisors and managers. So, what that tells me is that we have much work to do in managing employee relations, particularly in small to medium size organizations. And, if we don’t get to work on diplomatically pushing back on these issues, we’re going to continue with this enabling behavior… In other words, if HR keeps handling all the employee issues–the managers are not being held accountable to perform a fundamental part of their job–people leadership.
In my presentation, I shared my “Three Key Words” strategy for determining the Level of Significance in employee complaints. And, these Three Key Words will help you to determine when to launch a formal investigation–and when to diplomatically push back on issues that HR doesn’t own. Those three key words are: Policy, Procedure, and Law. In other words, if an employee comes into the HR department with a complaint–it needs to be a legitimate complaint involving a potential violation of company policy, procedures (such as safety procedures or regulatory procedures), or it needs to be a legal issue such as potential theft, etc.
Until next time…
Natalie Ivey is President & CEO of Results Performance Consulting, Inc., (rpchr.com) an HR consulting firm based in Boca Raton, FL.
She is also the author of How to Conduct Internal Investigations: A Practical Guide for HR Professionals, available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/How-Conduct-Internal-Investigations-Professionals/dp/1483935248/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377118488&sr=8-1&keywords=natalie+ivey