Worldwide Increase in Workplace Investigations

Marc Dib
November 23, 2023

Principal Consultant Marc Dib discusses the distinct increase in workplace investigations worldwide as organisations become more in-tune with workplace culture and team dynamics.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in workplace investigations taking place worldwide. The once underreported and often overlooked aspect of corporate culture is now gaining significant attention from allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination to corruption and fraud. Employers across the globe are acknowledging the importance of addressing workplace issues promptly and effectively resulting in a surge in investigations reflecting the changing workplace dynamics, evolving societal norms, and the growing awareness of the need to maintain a safe and cohesive work environment.

The reasons behind this worldwide increase are multifaceted and cannot be summarised in one article but we will explore the more prevalent reasons and highlight the importance of conducting fair, effective and independent workplace investigations.

Changing Work Dynamics

The nature of work itself has been evolving. Following COVID, remote work arrangements and flexible employment contracts have created new challenges for both employers and employees. As a result, disputes related to remote work arrangements, cybersecurity breaches and compensation have increased, leading to a greater demand for workplace investigations.

The #MeToo movement, which gained momentum in 2017, also played a significant role in driving increased workplace investigations. It shed light on the prevalence of sexual harassment and misconduct in workplaces, encouraging more victims to come forward.

This cultural shift has also extended beyond sexual harassment. Discrimination based on gender, race, age or other factors has become less tolerated. As a result, employees are more inclined to report these matters triggering a surge in investigations to address these issues.

Greater Awareness and Education

Employees today are more informed about their rights and company policies. Many employers have invested in training programs and workshops to educate employees about their rights and responsibilities while also addressing behavioural expectations. This increased awareness has led to a greater willingness to report workplace issues and participate in investigations.

Additionally, employers are now more transparent about their commitment to investigating workplace misconduct and regularly communicate with their staff about their initiatives and desire to create a safe and cohesive workplace.

Corporate Compliance

Countries around the world have been enacting and revising laws and regulations related to workplace issues. Although these laws differ from place to place, they are designed to create a more conducive environment for workplace investigations. Legal action and reputational damage have made it crucial for employers to conduct thorough and independent investigations to proactively address workplace issues and mitigate any legal risks.

Additionally, corporate accountability has gained prominence in the business world. Shareholders, customers, employees and the general public are holding employers accountable for their actions. A well-managed investigation can help preserve a company’s reputation and maintain the trust of customers, investors, and employees.

Social Media and Technology

Technology today has made it easier to conduct investigations. Online communication and data analysis allow investigators to collect and assess evidence more efficiently. Remote work has increased the need for virtual investigations making them more accessible to a global workforce.

Additionally, the digital age has made it easier for workplace issues to gain public attention. Incidents that were once contained within the walls of a company can now go viral on social media, making it imperative for companies to investigate and address allegations promptly and effectively.

The Role of HR and Compliance Departments

Human Resources and compliance departments have evolved into proactive teams in ensuring workplace integrity. They work closely with leadership to create policies and procedures that prevent misconduct and handle investigations when necessary.

The shift from the HR working almost separately from the general workforce to now HR becoming more involved as a resource for advice and champions of change management has contributed to the rise in workplace investigations.

Employee Morale

An effective workplace investigation process can significantly boost employee morale. When employees see that their concerns are taken seriously and that their employer is committed to maintaining a safe and respectful workplace, they are more likely to remain engaged and productive.

Proper investigations can also uncover the root causes of workplace issues, enabling employers to implement preventive measures. This proactive approach can reduce the likelihood of similar incidents occurring in the future and also serve as a desirable incentive to attract and retain top talent.

In conclusion, it is fair to say the worldwide increase in workplace investigations is a reflection of our evolving society, changing workplace dynamics and the recognition of the importance of a safe, fair, and ethical work environment. Employers across the globe are realising that addressing workplace issues promptly and effectively not only protects employees but also safeguards their reputation and mitigates legal risks. As we continue to evolve, workplace investigations will remain a critical tool in fostering a healthier and more accountable work environment to create a culture that values transparency, cohesiveness and the wellbeing for all.

If you have workplace issue around staff and team culture and need advise about what action to take, the Worklogic team is happy to discuss your situation and point you in the right direction. Get in touch for an obligation-free chat.

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