Controlling the Cost of Workplace Investigations

Now, more than ever before, companies are held liable for their actions and are closely monitored to ensure they’re conducting business in a socially responsible manner.

Posted by Joe Gerard in on April 27th, 2010

Now, more than ever before, companies are held liable for their actions and are closely monitored to ensure they’re conducting business in a socially responsible manner. When companies face allegations warranting a workplace investigation, it becomes difficult to control costs, as the company can’t afford to cut corners throughout the investigative process — without facing serious consequences.

There are several solutions available that can help companies control the cost of workplace investigations, while ensuring compliance with federal and industry laws and regulations. From policy development to investigation management systems, investigative teams now have the opportunity to spend less time on paperwork and more time actively in the field conducting investigations.

Workplace Investigation Money Saving Tips

Company policies, reporting mechanisms and investigative processes each impact the time and costs associated with an investigation. These three components must be examined together to help control costs and maintain high quality investigations. Reducing redundancies and establishing clear reporting lines can help reduce confusion internally, which can also reduce investigation costs by reducing the time it takes to complete investigative tasks.

Workplace Policies

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Policies must be easy to understand, documented and distributed to employees, communicated and discussed with all staff, as well as given the appropriate amount of time when it comes to training employees. When employees understand company policies and the consequences for violating them, investigation costs can drop, as the number of violations reported may decrease. Understanding company policies also helps reduce conflict in the workplace, therefore reducing occurrences of workplace misconduct. It’s important for employers to spend extra time working with employees to help them understand the reason for implementing policies and the importance of following them while at work. The tone at the top significantly impacts the ability of employees to adopt company practices.

Policies that are clearly defined make investigations run smoother, as ambiguity is reduced and proper penalties for violating policies are clearly defined. Policies must be developed to guide decision making surrounding whether or not certain allegations require further investigation. Conducting a full-fledged investigation into allegations that can be resolved on simpler terms wastes both the time of the investigator and company money. At the same time, dismissing allegations and not following through on an investigation can cause a company to incur significant costs if the case escalates and the claimant decides to take the issue to another level. Companies should develop a policy outlining the steps to take when conducting a preliminary screening of all cases before making a decision regarding the investigation. A pre-screening policy helps maintain consistency between each member of the investigative team and helps avoid decisions that could potentially increase investigative costs.

Investigation Software Solutions

The proper management of case loads also helps reduce the costs associated with workplace investigations. Implementing a system, such as i-Sight Investigation Software, allows companies to complete cases in a centralized system that can be accessed from any location, as long as there’s an Internet connection available. i-Sight is a flexible, fully customizable solution, combining  functionality with affordability. Outdated processes, such as the use of spreadsheets, slows down the investigative process and can be a nightmare to update when new regulations and laws are implemented to govern particular industries. i-Sight helps reduce redundancies throughout the investigation process– for example, i-Sight can pull information from previous cases or employee databases to save time by automatically populating the data into the case file.

With i-Sight, investigators receive case and task assignment alerts via e-mail, and if tasks are left inactive, another alert is sent to the investigator, drawing attention back to the case. The use of customized workflow rules allows investigation managers to maintain control over each investigation and check in on case progress when using i-Sight dashboards, drilling down to the case level. Setting deadlines for tasks during assignment allows cases to be completed on time, reducing the costs associated with investigations that drag on longer than necessary. Incoming cases can be assigned manually or automatically, either way, each case must be accounted for, reducing the risks and costs tied to cases that get abandoned once reported.

Properly managing investigations greatly impacts the costs of workplace investigations. i-Sight provides companies with the ability to identify trends and pin point problem areas within the organization for prompt correction. i-Sight helps reduce the time spent on each case by allowing investigators to collaborate on cases in real time, having centralized access to case information and evidence attachments. This function reduces communication time, allowing each investigator to complete their part of the investigation without waiting on work from other team members.

Joe Gerard
Joe Gerard

CEO, i-Sight

Spend my days showing off the i-Sight investigative case management software and finding ways to help clients improve their investigations. Usually working with corporate security, HR & employee relations, compliance and legal teams.

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