Proactive Strategies To Ensure Ethical Internal Investigations

Proper handling of internal investigations should be top of mind for all executives


In today’s corporate environment, where sensitive decisions are scrutinized by the media and employees alike, the proper handling of internal investigations should be top of mind for all executives. How a company is perceived by both external entities and its own internal stakeholders during an investigation can have a deep and long-lasting impact on the company’s success and reputation. While most agree that the best way to minimize risk is by conducting an ethical internal investigation, it is much more challenging to implement that approach. It is critically important that organizations are proactive in establishing an ethical internal investigation process; conducting an investigation by reaction will yield poor results.

Before any whistleblower comes forward, all companies should have already set up investigative plans and processes. Follow a strict procedure and stick to it in every investigation. If you are trying to create a process at the same time you are investigating, you will likely hinder that investigation.

One of the biggest risks any company faces in conducting internal investigations is mishandling the initial outreach. In your first contact with the complainant, it is essential to treat the individual with respect. It is often very difficult for someone to come forward with any type of allegation, especially one involving the workplace and work environment. You must create a culture wherein the individual believes allegations will be taken seriously. If not, the entire investigation can be tainted. The investigative team should also be sensitive to the nature of the allegations. 

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Source: Forbes

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