When bad stuff happens on the job, you need to secure your “HR Investigator hat” tightly, and follow these three steps:
1. Find as much DATA as possible about the situation – emails, phone records, texts, etc.; anything in print or digital that helps you get your head around what you’re dealing with.
2. Create a list of people you need to talk to. Order them in a way where early interviews are really about collecting data to add to #1. As you get later in your interview schedule, you will talk to people closer to the issue in question.
3. When you start interviewing the primaries in the situation (those who know what the truth is, you just have to get it out of them) you do the following:
a. Use the data you have to gradually rein them in to agreement on the general situation in question.
b. Use critical data points to test if they are telling you the truth – you generally need data from #1 to do this.
c. If you catch them in a lie related to 3b, use that fact to leverage them to come clean and give you even more than they were going to.
d. Repeat. Don’t be scared to stay in an interview for a couple of hours if needed. These are often tough conversations
Welcome to the world of the effective HR investigation. If it sounds like nasty business, that’s because it can be. The best HR Leaders are really good at what I’ve outlined above. What suggestions would you add to my list?