Internal investigations are a part of a well-structured corporate security system. It aims to minimize and reduce the impact of insider threats.
Misconducts of company rules committed by employees associates may be disruptive to business.
These violations may fall under one or several categories:
On top of that, almost any company once in a while deals with client complaints and needs to clarify controversial matters. A situation when a client or a contractor files a lawsuit against the company is also a reason for conducting an internal investigation.
According to Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, criminal prosecutions are decreasing. We can see the numbers given below:
In this article, we will guide you through the most important steps of an internal investigation process. It will help you to explore how online audio to text transcription can help you along the way. Read on to learn more!
So why are corporate internal investigations important? A strong security policy backed by an internal investigation procedure helps avoid such thing as:
Most importantly, such procedures help to spill the light on who’s really responsible for a particular violation. Also, to mitigate its consequences, and act as a responsible community member. Businesses that conduct in-house investigations stand a better chance of avoiding sanctions.
Last but not least – effective internal investigations help organizations avoid negative publicity. How so? By confronting allegations with a reliable set of facts. And by communicating a clear public message.
Conducting an employee investigation requires the next steps:
Below are some tips that should help you with this important endeavor.
At the start of the investigation, define the reasons for it and its objectives. Then, define an authority that initiates and supervises an investigation (board of directors, CSO, etc). And have them issue a mandate for extracting the data relevant to an investigation.
Next, assign the persons responsible for conducting employee interviews. Finally, decide in which form you want to receive the results of an investigation – in print or during a personal meeting. Document these decisions in a clear and memorable form.
In-house or third-party?
There may be a situation when a third-party is needed to ensure the necessary level of independence and impartiality. For example, the company plans to disclose the investigation findings to legal authorities. Then an independent investigation appears more trustworthy.
It is important that individuals are allegedly involved in the reported violation or misconduct. And they have no access to the investigation documents or any information about the course of an investigation. A clearly defined investigation scope will help you identify these individuals.
Labor laws differ depending on a country and may impact an investigators’ access to data.
In Europe, for example, the personal data of employees stored on the company computer cannot be used without employee consent. In the United States, though, all data stored on corporate computers or servers may be collected for investigation.
Decide where you will store the investigation data, and how you will ensure its protection.
This will depend on the company’s technical infrastructure and data protection policies. Before you start interviewing employees, make sure you have a set of accompanying documents for each interview.
A witness interview is an important step in every internal investigation and requires soft skills as much as hard skills.
You are going through preparation, planning, and creating a shortlist of questions that you need to ask. And witness interviews require:
A good interviewer aims to get into the smallest details without intimidating employees. A tricky balance to strike, if you aim to conduct an in-depth interview. Stress and intimidation may negatively impact motivation and morale, so it’s important to avoid being too insistent. After each interview, you need to make an interview summary as soon as possible, in a written form.
When exactly should you conclude an investigation? The investigation is considered concluded when:
If the investigation uncovers violations, you will need to establish fair disciplinary measures. It is depending on the type of misconduct.
Finally, if you have to report about the incident to the public, decide how you will formulate your message. Hire a PR agency, if you must: you want to have as much control as you can over words and statements that may impact your company reputation.
Soft-skills and ethics are important for successful internal investigations. But technical tools like Audext can also be of great help. More specifically, here’s how transcription software may assist investigators:
When it comes to uncovering the truth, witness testimonials can spill the light on the subject. And it supports documented evidence. Depending on the scope of the investigation, the number of witnesses that you have to interview may vary. And the summary that you make after each interview has to be accurate.
The time factor also matters: you have to transcribe the facts while you still remember them. You may also have to hurry up to prevent negative publicity. Audext saves valuable time by converting the interview into text. And it leaves zero room to misinterpretations.
Do you need to prevent fraudulent activity, regular meeting/corporate call transcription? It may help you identify suspicious phrases or non-typical conversation patterns and set you on the right track.
You may have to do it covertly, sanctioned by corporate authorities, in-line with the corporate policies and ethics. One way or the other, Audext not only transcribes meeting recordings to text. It also stores it so that you can access it for reference anytime whenever you need to.
Conversation recordings and transcriptions are a regular practice. Even if your employees use ready-made scripts as they talk to customers, miscommunications still happen. And may lead to complaints.
In this case, you can use the transcripts of conversation recordings to analyze the process and to know exactly what went wrong. This may also help you avoid unfair charges since the recordings give you insights into what was said.Get free 30 min
Conducting internal investigations is both science and art. Most people aren’t born investigators and need to undergo training to master this complex subject.
Many organizations train their employees in conducting internal investigations. It helps to raise their competence in this sensitive area. Some companies conduct such training activities to receive an international security certificate.
Most of the time, such training is offered by responsible employers. They want their workers to feel confident in any situation, or as part of HR training.
The training course comprises lectures, group discussions, and mock investigations. But witness interviews demand special attention. Over the course of the training, employees learn to start with the easy questions. Then proceed with the trickier ones while taking notes and keeping their suggestions to themselves.
The difficult part lies in encouraging people to open up. It is hard while controlling the conversation and making sure no important question gets omitted.
Recording and reading the mock interview transcripts help employees hone their interview skills. So that they can instantly refer to the transcript to see which questions they did omit and improve their performance.
Do not underestimate the value of transcription software for conducting employee investigations. Witness interviews, fraud prevention, customer service, and corporate internal investigation training. There are four ways Audext can help organizations meet the demands for fairness and transparency.
By accessing accurate and well-documented data, organizations can take collecting evidence painstaking. And it will be raised to an entirely new level.
Want to know more? Stay tuned!
Katrin runs her own podcast show, and interested in best ways to transcribe audio recordings into text.