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Smoother Than Sherlock Holmes: The Right Way to Investigate an Employee

As business owners, we’re always precious about what we do.

It is, after all, our life’s work.

So, when we let staff members onto our teams, we entrust them with our hearts and souls. Which is why it can be so heartbreaking when a team member lets you down.

In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to worry about anything more than an occasional telling off. In reality, though, issues could be more serious. From theft to in-office bullying, there are a variety of reasons you might need to investigate a team member. And, if it comes to that, it’s crucial you remain unbiased. But that’s easier said than done when you suspect a staff member of doing you wrong. However, failure to approach the issue in a fair manner could see you facing legal action down the line. Not to mention that it would mean losing a good staff member for nothing.

With that in mind, we’re going to look at a few ways to hold the fairest investigation possible.

Play detective

Before you even approach the suspect, it’s crucial you collect evidence. If your investigation is the result of an incident, talk to witnesses, obtain statements, and gather a precise idea of what happened. If the issue is ongoing, make a note of every complaint your other team members bring to you. Make sure, too, to note private observations. Overlooking something at this stage could prove fatal. Keep a close eye on the accused, and jot down anything you notice which seems relevant. In this instance, you are Sherlock Holmes. Leave no stone unturned in your quest for the truth.

Get help from outside

It’s also crucial you get all the outside help available. If you are accused of bias in the future, it could cost you in a significant way. Avoid the issue by employing the support of companies like Peninsula Business Services. They can assist with every aspect of investigation and ensure you do things by the book. In keeping with doing things carefully, make sure to research Peninsula Business Services complaints with someone like the Financial Conduct Authority before taking action. You need to know the credentials for that outside company. Will they have your colleague’s best interests in mind? If not, even this attempt at keeping things fair could come back and bite you.

Never assume guilt

Always remember that your colleague is innocent until proven guilty. If you assume guilt, your investigation will very much lean that way. And, this will be reflected in your accounts and findings. But, until the investigation and proceeding disciplinary, it’s essential you don’t take sides. Approach the issue from every possible angle, and keep personal opinion out of things as much as possible.

If you don’t think you could separate yourself, turn again to the outside help you’ve employed. People who have no connection to your business stand the best chance of seeing every side of an issue. Hence, they’re your best bet at getting to the truth.

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