Shopping for a corporate investigator is a bit like shopping for a corporate attorney or an auditor. Investigators are expensive, and investigations are uncomfortable and labor-intensive processes, even if the benefits far outweigh the costs. Lynch Law Firm, PLLC understands all of this and strives to make each investigation as cost-effective, professional, and quick as appropriate. With that in mind, Lynch Law Firm, PLLC has some suggested considerations with regards to hiring an investigator for your company:
Collaborative. Look for a corporate investigator who is invested in your company. You can determine this by paying attention to how interested prospective investigators are in the company’s culture and values. For example, if during a sexual harassment investigation an employer is also concerned about sexualized interactions involving the company’s customers, the workplace investigator should work closely to devise a strategy to establish the likelihood of that occurrence even if those interactions are outside the initial scope.
Diagnostic. It should be obvious that the investigator is most concerned with solving a problem rather than spending billing time in a problem.
Durable. It is perfectly acceptable to do a trial run with an investigative firm before determining that they are the preferred or exclusive vendor of investigative services for your company. It is, however, preferable to ultimately develop a relationship with a firm that will develop experience with your workforce, logistics, and preferences.
Value. The investigator should focus on being as beneficial as possible. During a workplace investigation, a good investigator collects a lot of information and observations. An invested investigator will take the time to ensure that he or she conveys all the relevant information in an organized and concise manner. For example, during one of Lynch Law Firm, PLLC’s investigations about a sexual harassment matter, it came to light that several informed employees also had concerns about the way some of the financial data was calculated. While the financial information was outside the scope of the primary investigation and the investigative report, Lynch Law Firm, PLLC conveyed that corroborated information in an organized manner so the employer could also resolve that issue.
Insight. A good external investigator will be comfortable taking charge during a crisis and provide an explanation regarding optional, required, and anticipated challenges at upcoming steps. In fact, this is exactly the “independent” aspect of an independent investigation that judges look for when evaluating the appropriateness of an investigation.
Composure. Investigators should be responsive. It is not reasonable to expect that an investigator will always be available to take every unexpected phone call, but a good investigator with a well-managed caseload will be able to convey crucial information and instructions in a timely fashion.
Mindset. Third-party workplace investigators should seem invested in building a relationship with the client contact. The relationship between the client contact and the investigator must be based on complete trust, and a qualified investigator will immediately recognize this need. The investigator must rely on the client contact to provide him or her with complete information, records, and insights, not to mention making logistical arrangements. Conversely, the client must feel assured that a well-informed and experienced investigator is competent to spend time asking his or her employees tough questions in a respectful and dignified manner.
Valuable. Third-party investigations will uncover information about workplace situations previously unknown to the client contact. This is one of the dynamics that make independent investigations particularly valuable; however, a decent investigator will be able to filter the information and relay only important information back to the client contact in an appropriate manner.