Does your human resources department work to resolve issues right away, or sit on them until it becomes a bigger issue with increased consequences? I would hope that you would say option one, but reality is that most organizations don’t. In some companies, nothing is done about employee complaints, forcing them to report misconduct to outside agencies – hello EEOC lawsuit and big fines! Legislation is tightening and regulatory agencies are offering guidance to companies to encourage internal discovery and reporting of misconduct. With employees now being encouraged to go straight to HR or compliance with any of their concerns, what can HR do to stay on top of everything?
HR professionals aren’t going to have the weight lifted off of their shoulders anytime soon. If anything, more weight has been added, according to a release from the Chartered Institute of Professional Development. In an article from the Ashdown Group, “HR ‘has a key role to play in dispute resolution’,” they write:
“According to the CIPD, the government’s proposal to change the employee complaints procedure will impose greater responsibilities on HR staff. The coalition has announced plans to implement employment tribunal charges and extend the time period for unfair dismissal claims from one to two years. As a result, the CIPD said the issue of managing workplace conflict is now top of the agenda for businesses and organizations. The recent policy shift towards managing disputes in-house and reducing financial costs means that more responsibility falls to HR and line managers.”
Although this news applies to the UK, the situation mirrors that of businesses in North America. As companies are advised to implement internal controls to detect, deter and monitor misconduct in the workplace, it adds more pressure to HR to correct the issues that are identified or reported. But first thing’s first, HR needs a reliable system in place to capture complaints and make sure they get to the right people before any corrective action can be taken. This is where case management software comes in.
Case Management Software
Case management software makes it easier for HR departments to manage misconduct from the time a complaint is made, all the way through to the follow up stage of the investigation. Case management software contains the following tools to help HR and investigators manage misconduct as soon as it’s reported:
- Clear reporting lines: An employee feels harassed or has noticed that someone is fudging their expenses, what do they do next? If an employee feels comfortable enough to make a verbal complaint, let them know who they should report to – you’ll also want to provide them with information on who they can go to if that person doesn’t listen. These reporting lines can be built into case management software. For example, if one person is in charge of harassment complaints, all incoming harassment complaints can be automatically directed to them.
- Reporting tools: Provide employees with the opportunity to report misconduct anonymously. Some employees don’t mind going straight to a supervisor or manager with an issue, but others might not. Case management software captures cases reported through a variety of anonymous and non-anonymous channels to make sure that each complaint is heard. Complaints can be captured via email, web form on a company intranet, integration with a hotline or we form on the company’s website.
- Notifications/ Alerts: HR needs to know when a new complaint or issues is reported. Case management software helps HR stay in the loop by sending out automatic alerts each time a new case is entered in the system. This ensures that cases are attended to right away, as opposed to sitting on a desk or in an inbox for months on end.