Fran's Blog

Investigating Further


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Diversity training is a multimillion-dollar industry. There is no doubt a place for educating employers and employees about the challenges of our increasingly

Part of being a good investigator is simply being a good listener. Being open, receptive, encouraging and nonjudgmental goes a long way towards getting

It is widely assumed that when an investigation finds evidence of misconduct that a termination of the “bad actor’s” employment frequently follows. While

In September of 2015, I had the honor of testifying before the EEOC’s Select Task Force on Harassment. On Monday, June 20, the Co-Chairs of that Task Force will be presenting their report, “Rebooting Harassment,” to the full Commission, and I have been invited to testify once again.

While conducting a recent climate assessment, I was questioning a supervisor about their oversight of the work environment.  How did they take stock of employee morale and engagement?  What were the cultural imperatives?  The response was a shoulder shrug and an assertion that “If employees have a problem they need to come to me.”

Writing investigative reports is never anyone’s favorite part of investigative work.  After the dynamic processes of interviewing, document review, analysis of evidence and overall analysis of credibility and clarity, writing a report can feel like drudgery. There are many ways to approach the writing of a report, but minimally an investigative report must contain:

When you spend the better part of your professional life examining employee complaints, the subtleties of handling those complaints become a big deal. I have written often in this blog about the importance of handling these complaints properly; listening carefully, not debating or pressing; avoiding laying blame and asking open-ended questions. Most importantly, I have described the importance of accepting the “gift” of a complaint by thanking the employee for their trust and willingness to bring it to your attention. These fundamental practices can make the difference between an employee who remains engaged and one who becomes an adversary.

I had the honor of speaking at HR West today. It is one of the best HR conferences in North America, filled with energetic keynotes, informative breakouts, and entertaining exhibitors. Today I delivered “The Fairness Quotient and Why it Matters,” an evolving talk about the power of fairness to create resilience and loyalty in employees. Today was special for me because I got to roll out my newly commissioned infographic.

On Martin Luther King Day, it is appropriate to consider where discrimination and bias sit in our own lives.  More often than ever, I find the subjects of privilege, income inequality and social segregation entering into my conversations.  Thanks to the bravery, persistence, and pluck of groups like Black Lives Matter, issues previously visible only to those negatively affected are showing up in unavoidable ways to everyone.  As a progressive of goodwill, I ask myself how I can make a difference in calling out institutional racism and discrimination.  I try to listen more than talk and to be mindful of seeing the world through the eyes of others.

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