Workplace investigations

Over the last year we have noticed an increased demand for workplace investigations. It seems the stresses of all the events and circumstances of recent years has led to more fractious relationships at work. In fact, a recent survey by partner organisation, Synergy Health, found the state of psychological wellbeing amongst Canterbury workers to be the lowest in the country, and in particular, a perceived low level of support by team members.

As Chartered Organisational Psychologists we meet the regulatory requirements to carry out external investigations and we are very familiar with the dynamics of human behaviour, employment relations, workplace policies, and structures. Our clients regularly comment that as much as they appreciate our thorough and objective processes, what really sets us apart from many other investigators is our systems level analysis, behavioural insight and pragmatism. For this reason, we are able to explain what is occurring and provide workable recommendations to solving issues that may be exacerbating interpersonal problems.

Sadly, we have come across a number of investigations that have been run in such a way that they have unnecessarily exacerbated the anxiety of those involved. We believe allegations need to be addressed quickly and effectively and we are firm advocates of supporting all those involved during and after the investigation. We offer advice on rebuilding relationships and culture at the conclusion of the investigation. Simply put, when it comes to investigations we look forward as well as back.

Maybe you aren’t in need of a formal investigation but you have a team experiencing some conflict. A very proactive step is to bring us in to meet with people and assess what is going on, and most importantly, how to fix it. A review of this nature is a less formal approach than an investigation and in many cases this type of early intervention will stave off the need for a later investigation. A key benefit is that unlike an investigation we can interview staff confidentially, so they may speak freely without fear of what they say being revealed to others. Our recommendations often involve systemic or process changes, leadership or interpersonal development. And we often facilitate conversations between individuals (either as part of a review or separately) to shine a light on their behaviour, resolve conflict and agree on specific behavioural expectations for the future.

Some recent feedback is shared below:

Re. a team leader and senior staff member in conflict
“…both [team leader] and [senior staff member] have spoken with [manager] separately to say how grateful they were for the session and they were both pleased and felt positive about where things were at and the future.”

From a Chief Executive re. a senior level bullying investigation
“…thank you for a thorough investigation and findings. I appreciate your willingness to complete this investigation promptly for all concerned.”

From a Senior HR Business Partner to SPG
“Thanks for completing the investigation. We like the way you have helped us understand how the organisational structure and goals have contributed to the tensions. It has helped us put some solutions in place which will make the individual plans much more likely to work. Others investigators have just told us whether the person was bullied or not.

From a Board member to SPG
“Your systems level review of the situation and the individual’s part to play has helped all the parties understand how they go to the situation they were in. Very helpful for working out a way forward.”

Re. a team leader and two senior staff in conflict
“I understand from [senior manager] and what [team leader] has observed, things are going well for them. [Senior manager] has shared that [Senior 1] and [Senior 2] are really pleased with the sessions and how things are working.”

Please contact us on 0508 787 284 if you would like a confidential chat about a potential investigation or review or email us on Or contact one of us directly on the following:

Andrea Gardner,, 027 645 1458
John Eatwell,, 027 446 5592
Tara Longley,, 027 228 9179