David Rudderham and Darren Wilcox, two of the lead investigators for Buckingham Inc., share the four principles for effectively and efficiently managing workplace disputes.
1. Develop Written Procedures That Ensure All Workplace Complaints Are Handled In A Formal And Consistent Way.
Previously, it was standard for employers to address workplace conflict and harassment informally. Although dispute resolutions can be handled informally, the complaint process must be formalized and predictable — it must follow a set procedure. If the complaint process is not formalized, resolutions can become unclear and may resurface at a later date, leading complainants to believe they were not taken seriously.
2. Assure Employees That The Intent Of The New Procedures Is To Ensure A Healthy Workplace Environment For Everyone.
The investigation and resolution of a harassment complaint is, by design, a restorative process. Although there may be occasions when a determination is made and a discipline directed, the focus of the process is to ensure that the workplace environment improves.
3. Create A Culture In Which Management Makes It Clear That All Employees Have A Right To A Harassment-Free Environment.
It’s important for employees to understand that management will not tolerate any form of harassment, and that all harassment will be stopped, investigated and resolved in a timely manner.
4. Be Proactive.
Establish, implement and communicate your company’s policies and procedures before harassment becomes a problem.