Repair working relationships and affirm your expectations post-investigation
When a complaint of workplace misconduct is made, pre-existing risks and damage start to emerge. Most employers act swiftly to address the reported misconduct directly, but do not implement post-investigation support strategies to repair fractured working relationships and help the team move forward productively and positively.
After the complaint, investigation and (sometimes) disciplinary action, it’s common to see:
- Confidentiality considerations stopping the employer from telling the team members what has been done as a result of the misconduct, causing confusion, frustration and damaged morale
- One employee has resigned, been terminated or been moved to a different role
- The complainant and and the person who was accused of misconduct are still expected to work together
- Divided loyalties have emerged – some employees support the complainant and others support the respondent
- Employees resent a manager or the employer for what they perceive to be a breakdown in values and behaviour
- New inappropriate behaviour starts, such as gossiping or undermining the manager.
- understand what has happened (while preserving confidentiality and privacy of the participants)
- understand their own reactions to the conflict or complaint
- remember the employer’s expectations of them as professionals
- affirm the values that guide their work
- sometimes, to work together to define the new ‘ground rules’ of how they will treat each other in future.