‘Can we compel a reluctant manager to investigate’ asked a Federation of Small Businesses member to the legal team in the FSB magazine ‘First Voice.’ In a recent edition of the FSB magazine Contact the People Resolutions Team for more on improving investigation capacity. The reluctant manager apparently felt he had not been trained for this role.
The FSB legal team suggested that this could be a disciplinary matter as the manager may be seen to be refusing to do ‘any additional duties that are suitable and appropriate for his role.’ Sensibly though the FSB legal team recognised that it was much more important to ensure that the investigation is conducted correctly and not by someone who could later be alleged to be incompetent or biased.
In many small or large businesses investigations continue to challenge even the most skilful and experienced manager. It is one of those responsibilities that people acquire and it comes with great expectations is hugely challenging. Just imagine if you suddenly put in the position of investigating whether or not a college who you had been working with years was a ‘bully’ or not? A team member alleges that they are. You need to interview witnesses, write up notes, put a report together, maintain confidentiality.
We all possess investigative skills to some degree and could not survive if we could not gather verbal information from the people around us, collect documentary evidence, draw conclusions, feed back our information and recommendations to others (say about an area we are thinking of moving to).
In the workplace though people’s livelihood and well being can depend on the skills of an investigator if someone raises a grievance, or makes an allegation of wrongdoing against them. I can see why a manager might be reluctant but I would not then want to compel them to do it, rather support them and their colleagues in ensuring that they did it fairly, rigorously and well.