Can transcription be helpful for internal investigation?
An internal investigation plays a great part in an efficient company security system. They are conducted for a variety of reasons, but the main goal of such an investigation is to find out whether internal policies and regulations are being infringed and if needed, to prescribe further actions to be taken. The most important thing to consider while conducting an internal investigation is to stay objective and get the facts straight. Without knowing the facts, the company cannot make rational decisions and plan the course of action. If company laws are violated, businesses will most probably suffer. Internal investigation can cover a wide range of potential topics: fraud, larceny, data breach, discrimination, mobbing, employment disputes, theft of intellectual property etc. It should be mentioned that internal investigations can also be conducted to scrutinize costumer complaints or even lawsuits.
What are the benefits of internal investigations?
When a company decides to conduct an internal investigation, they can benefit a lot: lawsuits might never happen or charges might be withdrawn, the company could start settlement negotiations with those harmed, further violations could be prevented, penalties and sanctions could be avoided. The company could avoid losing clients and customers, and its reputation would not be harmed – due to the unimpeachable facts a clear widespread message can be sent to the public. On the other hand, the company will get a good insight into their employees and find out who exactly is responsible for the infringements and violations. This way, while wrongdoers will face consequences for their unethical actions, innocent parties will be protected and therefore more motivated to follow company policies in the future. Internal investigations help to promote a culture of transparency and compliance.
Internal investigation step by step
One of the most important things to bear in mind while conducting an internal investigation is to ensure it is conducted in a way that is least damaging and disrupting to the company.
You need to determine:
- the motive of the internal investigation. Why is it conducted in the first place?
- the goals of the investigation.
The next step is to assign a board which will be in charge of the investigation and of interrogating the employees. Should it be an employee or a third party? Maybe a private investigator? Sometimes it is better to bring someone neutral in the game, since they tend to be more credible and objective. Also, they will be more impartial and not attached to the employees they are interviewing since those aren’t their coworkers. Also, a third party won’t have a conflict of interest which is also crucial.
Interview plan: key witnesses and relevant documents
It is important to identify all the employees who might be involved in the reported infringements or violations of the company policies. This should also include all the former employees who had left the company shortly before or after the potential wrongdoing. When you are investigating someone, of course you want to have access to their personal data which they have given to the company. International businesses, in particular, face a bigger responsibility to ensure their investigations comply with local laws. In the US, you won’t have any problems getting personal data, but if you operate in Europe, you must be aware of labor laws which prohibit the use of employees’ personal data without their permission. In any case, identifying, retrieving and reviewing relevant documents will probably be the most lingering aspect of the internal investigation. The investigator should try to be as structured as possible and develop a systematic approach to get the most out of the documents.
Now, when everything above has been taken care of, we come to the key part of the investigation: interviewing individuals. This is going to be a primary way to obtain the facts.
Due to consistency issues it would be ideal, that the same team of people conduct all interviews. This way contradictions in testimony could be recognized right away.
Conducting an interview seems easy, but is far from it. The task is to ask the right people the right questions and it should be done in the right way. The investigators need to have developed soft skills – they must have good active listening skills, must be compassionate, shouldn’t be biased in anyways and need to be good in reading gestural and facial glances. Fairness and objectivity are a must. The investigators need to thoroughly and carefully prepare for the interview, i.e. they should think carefully in advance about what information is needed, but also how to protect the confidentiality of the parties. Written questions also make it possible for the investigator to ask the same questions to multiple individuals.
In private investigations the imperative is that the interviewed employee doesn’t feel intimidated or stressed out. The investigator should avoid pressuring and insisting on answers if the employee is uncomfortable and feels trapped. Also, suggestive questions shouldn’t be asked.
It should be highlighted that those who are interviewed don’t have documents related to the internal investigation at their disposal, they should not be given any information they do not already have, and they shouldn’t be told what other interviewees have said.
At the end of each interview the investigator has to deliver a summary, which should be written in a clear and concise way.
The evidence and achievements of the investigation
Clear procedures about evidence and how it should be sought, recorded and stored must be determined. The investigator will need a secure data repository for all the collected information of value for the internal investigation.
When the investigator finds clear evidence and shows them to the board, the investigation slowly comes to an end. It is usually closed by a report including a summary of the main conclusions and analysis of all relevant evidence. It should include how the investigation has achieved its aims and met its objectives. Sometimes, depending on the type of wrongdoing, it is important to ensure the right remedial action is taken. It might be necessary to send a message to the public about some incidents. Our advice is that in case the company is saying something to the public it is best to leave that up to a PR agency, since this usually tends to be a very delicate matter which could hurt the company.
How Gglot can make internal investigations easier?
You might have the right people for the job, but we can offer you the right tool. Use transcription services and simplify the investigation process. Let us show you how:
- Transcribe the interviews
Most likely, the conducted interviews are going to be recorded. The investigator can make his job much easier, if he decides he wants the recordings to be transcribed. That means that the investigator will have everything that has been said right in front of him, black on white. A transcribed interview will leave no room for errors, misjudgments and confusion. It will facilitate the process of writing the summary. All of this will leave the investigator with more free time to dedicate to other things.
- Transcribe meeting recordings
Transcribing staff meeting recordings could be used for prevention of fraud. Transcriptions make it much easier to detect conversational patterns that ring the alarm and act as deterrent. You will not need to wait until violation of company policies actually happens, because this way any suspect behavior could be nipped in the bud.
- Transcription and customer service
Wouldn’t it be great that when costumer complaints happen, the manager could have conversations between the employee and the costumer in a written form in front of him so he could analyze step by step what actually happened? Gglot can help to stay objective and have a clear insight into the miscommunications which happen event to the friendliest people working in customer service.
- Transcription for training purposes
Some companies want their employees to conduct internal investigations as part of HR training. As already said, this is a complex procedure. Most people don’t have the skills necessary to do a good job in this domain so their company offers them training sessions and mock interviews in order for them to perform better and be more confident once doing the actual interview. Above all, potential investigators must learn how to work in a diligent, efficient and ethical way. One possibility is that those mock interviews are recorded and transcribed, so they can serve as valuable educational material. Potential investigators can go through the transcript, mark all their shortcomings, see what questions they have omitted to ask, what they might have formulated in a better way, and improve their overall performance.
Today companies are under immense scrutiny, and therefore the likelihood of complaints or lawsuits being made is an increasing possibility. According to statistics, an average 500-person company now faces around seven complaints per year. Fraud, theft and, mobbing is also a big problem in today’s business world. Therefore, companies need to react to any such allegations or wrongdoings. Internal investigations play a vital role in identifying improper conduct, assessing the damage and preventing it from happening again. The right tools facilitate the investigation process. Transcripts can be of great help in the course of an internal investigation. If we caught your attention and you want to know more about our transcription service, let us know.