Trauma-Informed Workplace Investigation: Why Companies Need to Care
Trauma-informed may seem like a buzzword these days but when it comes to workplace investigations, it’s an approach that shouldn’t be ignored.
A trauma-informed workplace investigation is a process of examining an incident or complaint within an organization that takes into account the potential impact of trauma on those involved. It is a sensitive and thorough approach that recognizes the potential for harm and aims to minimize further trauma while also addressing the underlying issues.
Organizations that are dealing with complaints should remember that trauma can take many forms, including physical, emotional, and psychological harm. In the workplace, examples of trauma may include harassment, discrimination, bullying, violence, or other forms of abuse. These types of incidents can have a significant impact on employees and can lead to long-term mental and physical health issues.
A trauma-informed investigation process is designed to be sensitive to the needs of those involved, and to minimize any additional harm. This can include providing support and resources to those affected, as well as ensuring that the investigation is conducted in a way that is respectful and non-threatening.
Key Steps of a Trauma-Informed Approach to Workplace Investigations
The first step in a trauma-informed investigation is to gather information about the incident or complaint. This may include interviewing those involved, as well as any witnesses, and reviewing any relevant documents or evidence. It is important to approach this stage of the investigation with sensitivity and empathy, and to be aware of the potential impact of trauma on those involved.
The next step is to evaluate the evidence and determine whether the incident or complaint has merit. If it is determined that there is a violation of company policy or laws, appropriate action should be taken. This may include disciplinary action against the Responding Party, or providing support and resources to the Reporting Party, or both.
It is also important to consider the larger context of the incident or complaint, and to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to the trauma. This may include implementing training or policy changes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
In a trauma-informed workplace investigation, the well-being of the employees involved is a priority. It is important to take a sensitive and thorough approach to examining an incident or complaint, and to minimize any additional harm. By addressing the underlying issues and providing ongoing support, a trauma-informed investigation can help create a safer and more supportive work environment for all employees.
Why Trauma-Informed Workplace Investigations are on the Rise
In today’s economy and social climate, companies can’t afford to approach workplace investigations the same way. Here’s why a trauma-informed approach is more relevant than ever in Canada:
1. The prevalence of trauma in the workplace is a significant concern. Incidents such as harassment, discrimination, bullying, and violence can have a significant impact on employees, and can lead to long-term mental and physical health issues. This not only affects the employees but also the productivity and morale of the workplace as a whole.
2. The legal landscape in Canada is shifting. Courts are recognizing the impact of trauma on individuals. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has issued guidelines for employers on how to create a workplace free of harassment and discrimination, which includes the importance of taking a trauma-informed approach to investigations. Similarly, Occupational Health and Safety Acts and Workers Compensation legislation in Canada requires employers to provide a safe working environment for all employees, which includes addressing incidents of trauma.
3. Good corporate culture values employee well-being. Companies that adopt a trauma-informed approach to workplace investigations demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of their employees, which can lead to a more positive and supportive work environment. It can also lead to better employee retention, improved productivity and can enhance the reputation of the company.
4. Trauma-informed will soon be the norm. It’s important to note that trauma-informed workplace investigation is becoming a norm in many industries and organizations in Canada, and companies that don’t adopt such practices may find it difficult to attract and retain talented employees.
Organizations should take note, when incidents occur or workplace complaints are filed, the old approach is no longer acceptable. Trauma-informed workplace investigations are a crucial step in creating a safe and supportive work environment for all employees. It recognizes the potential for harm and aims to minimize further trauma while also addressing the underlying issues.
By taking a sensitive and thorough approach, providing support and resources, and implementing changes to prevent future incidents, a company can create a culture of respect and empathy, and promote the well-being of all employees.
In a difficult situation, that’s still a win-win.
To find a trauma-informed workplace investigator in Canada, contact us for qualified referrals.