Workplace Harassment Investigation: 5 Tips to Win Back Employee Trust

So, there’s been a workplace harassment investigation at your place of business. Now what?

By Nadia Lambo, CHRP, CHRL

Workplace harassment is no joke. We provide you 5 essential tips to help your employees recover, restoring office productivity and team morale.

Workplace harassment is no joke. We provide you 5 essential tips to help your employees recover, restoring office productivity and team morale.

There is no business issue quite as unique as a workplace harassment investigation. However, one thing is certain: the fact that it happened at your place of business can have detrimental effects, not only on the parties involved, but on your whole team and its day-to-day operations. Not to mention a potentially significant impact on your business finances and a major toll on company morale! If you’re in this predicament, read on to learn the five essential ways to restore employee trust.

According to the Government of Canada’s Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution, workplace harassment is defined as verbal abuse, humiliating behaviour, threats to persons, physical violence, and unwanted sexual attention or sexual harassment. In 2018, a Statistics Canada survey reported that 19% of women and 13% of men reported that they had experienced harassment in their workplace in the past year. 

So, once the results and recommendations of your workplace sexual harassment investigation have been provided, how can you as the employer, pick up the pieces? Here are five key opportunities to restore trust among your team and to help get your employees back in full force contributing to the success of your company:

1.      Listen

Be attentive and supportive of the needs of your staff. It is the most valuable thing you can do. Ensure your employees know their voice is being heard. It will demonstrate your desire to support them and will encourage the team to report any inappropriate behaviour going forward, without being reprimanded, before a situation gets out of control.

2.     Communicate

Do not be afraid to communicate how the investigation has affected you, personally, and as an organization. Communicate the steps you are taking (without divulging confidential information about the investigation) to rebuild trust and support a positive working environment.

3.     Be Aware

Keep an eye on your team’s daily interactions. Even the most subtle cues will tell you whether something isn’t right. As an employer, you have a duty to inquire under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and so don’t be afraid to act.

4.     Train

Make workplace violence and harassment training a priority in the workplace. Participate in the trainings and be sure that all of your staff participate. Training should be conducted annually to refresh and remind all your employees that it is their responsibility to maintain a safe, healthy and comfortable working environment, free from harassment of any kind.

5.     Stay Positive

Out of every experience comes a lesson or two learned. Analyze the events that have taken place, seek out the positive - the silver lining from it all, and make it your mission to restore confidence in your organization and team morale.

If you are experiencing workplace violence and/or harassment issues and require assistance, or if you are interested in conducting employee training, please contact us. LD Human Resources has certified HR Professionals who can help.