The workplace is an environment where people of different character and orientation meet and combine their efforts towards a common goal. But sometimes, friction happens, and this means that you have to be prepared to experience different things from people. These may include misconduct in various forms.
Although there is an increase in workers’ awareness of work ethics and conduct, there is still a high number of workers in the U.S. that have experienced ethical misconduct. The Ethics Resource Center, ERC, puts this figure at 50% at least. Furthermore, several reports obtained from different surveys and studies identify intimidation and abusive behavior as the most observed misconduct in offices and workplaces across the U.S. others also include lying to customers, employees, and even the public. There are also lots of cases of escalated friction between colleagues, issues that threaten the conduciveness of the workplace, and, thus, the efficiency of the staff.
Dealing with misconduct at the place of work requires a professional and skilled approach. Anything short of these may result in more damage than the original issues. And in fact, most companies and organizations require their staff to undergo some training on ethics and behavior, while the HR staff and senior staff usually get advanced training on employee management in line with the company’s laid-down rules. There must be an established system that can take care of any issue of misconduct that may arise during work hours.
Steps in dealing with workplace misconduct
- Set the tone for ethical standards: Employers and management have to set clearly defined boundaries and practices for their employees to learn and abide by. Do this, and ensure that every rule and policies are fully followed by the management and CEO in an exemplary way. This breeds trust and mutual respect between employees and management and preempts misconduct. On the other hand, a contrary behavior will create room for the staff to become indifferent to some laid-down rules, and brush off possibilities of retribution. No one should be immune to the rules and regulations of the company.
- Make the workplace safe, conducive, and friendly: As much as possible, employees should be relaxed, free of tension and anxiety, and with a positive disposition to their jobs. It is also important to make it safe and secure for employees to report cases of misconduct, especially against them, without the fear of a backlash or victimization. There are several platforms for this, and according to vaultplatform.com, the use of third-party solutions in reporting and recording workplace misconduct is essential in effectively dealing with such cases.
- Handle cases promptly, thoroughly, and without bias: Once cases of misconduct arise, it is vital to begin investigations immediately, even if the case looks trivial. It may be nothing at the end, but time is always of the essence. Give clear statements to the parties involved, and ensure there is a full understanding of the issue. Properly investigate and attend to cases, and reach a conclusion that is best for everyone. Ensure that every party involved is treated with respect and that personal vendettas or revenge do not cloud the result of the cases.
If employees see that they get fair and proactive responses, they are encouraged and motivated to work better, knowing that it is safe to speak up and that they got their backs covered.
- Document even the least data and information: Documentation is very important, both for the present and for future reasons. Properly document every bit of information, and include a clear timeline of activities involved in the process.
It is very important to have an established system for dealing with misconduct because they differ in type and severity, and thus the response to one may not be suited to another. Also, the available system must be in line with the laws of the land, as any attempt to side-step or over-step the law is in itself wrong.
There are two main systems for dealing with misconduct at work; the traditional approach and the modern approach. They have the same basic procedures, but the tools used in the two processes are different.
1. The Traditional System:Since the days when the workplace existed, people have always had to deal with misconduct and other ethical issues. This system includes the gradually-abandoned anonymous toll numbers, spying, and whistle blowing in addition to the normal investigative processes and decision-making. Although elements of these are still retained in the modern method, they have been refined to suit the ever-changing workplace scene. The traditional system, as it is, helped to meet the needs of older HR teams around the world.
But now, the requirements of dealing with cases of misconduct are changing rapidly, and, to stay ahead, the modern method has to be used.
2. The Modern Method:This refers to the use of technology-driven tools and solutions in reporting, compiling, assessing, investigating, and solving cases of office misconduct. These technological solutions are really software that are designed specially to enhance the process of receiving reports from staff in an orderly fashion, and using artificial intelligence, assist the HR staff in effectively handling the cases reported. This software is generally known as Employee Management Systems.
This software is designed to ensure the safety of employees when they make reports of incidents and misconduct at work. They track, manage, and resolve such as efficiently as possible to improve the existing productivity, manage risk factors, and even pre-empt future cases. They are of two interfaces, the Employee Interface, and the Organization Interface. Using the Employee Interface, employees can report incidents on-the-go, with pictorial or video evidence to support their reports, and give real-time descriptions of events before the memory fades. On the Organization Interface, the management can track and respond to reported cases easily, and keep records for reference purposes.
Handling workplace misconduct is easier and better with technological solutions designed specifically for that purpose. You should join thousands of companies that are already using these solutions, and improve the level of trust between you and your staff.