After the investigation – a workplace facilitation
When an employee is returning to work following a disciplinary process or an investigation, they may need some support reintegrating. Facilitation can be a useful tool to create positive change within your workplace culture or a team’s dynamics. Here is a recent example:
A primary industry business engaged Fair Way to help bring a team back together after a lengthy workplace investigation had created disharmony and distrust within a team. The proposed process focused on reintegrating an employee, who had been through a disciplinary process, back into a team they regarded as partially to blame for the disciplinary process. Absenteeism, underlying close community and familial ties, and workplace speculation about the confidential process had fuelled the team division. Management was committed to supporting their employee’s reintegration into the team and were reaching out for support to achieve this.
Fair Way’s Approach
After a consultation with a Fair Way Resolution Coordinator, a series of facilitated conversations were suggested that would run over two weeks, to optimise the chance for everyone to feel heard and start reforming the team. Management agreed that an initial facilitation would be between the employee and their manager, followed by a whole team facilitation focused on positive conduct.
After the first facilitation process, it was highlighted that an additional step would be required to allow the employee to have a supported conversation with a colleague whom they felt had contributed to the workplace breakdown. Facilitation provides a safe place for people to bring their truth and their story to the table, and our practitioners, who advocate for a fair process, create the space for those people to do the work, to be curious and to hear an alternative perspective.
The first two facilitations prepared everyone involved for the group facilitation where, as leaders, they were invited to share how they wanted to feel in the workplace and co-create a strategy for the behaviours, intentional or unintentional, that detracted from their ideal workplace culture. This process was open, robust, vulnerable and lead to the realisation for the team that the cost of a poor workplace culture is greater than bad attitudes and absenteeism. The team raised genuine concerns that a pattern of self-sabotaging behaviour often emerges from an environment of disconnection, and this has a direct impact on health and safety in the workplace. The potential cost to the team and the organisation was significant.
The team were visibly in a different place from where they started before the facilitations. They had collectively come to the discussion in good faith and worked hard to break down the barriers and miscommunication that had increased in a COVID-19 environment of lowered resilience and empathy burnout. The employee and manager had a new understanding on how to move forward and there was a palpable level of collegiality after the team had defined what positive conduct looks like and feels like in the workplace.
Whilst often necessary, no one volunteers to be involved with a workplace investigation. Even the best designed confidential processes are subject to delays, and have the potential to leave the people directly and indirectly involved feeling unsupported. Acknowledging that, and by dedicating additional time to be spent bringing the team back together, was an investment in everyone’s wellbeing which spoke volumes about the leadership of the organisation.
By breaking the process down into considered and supported steps, Fair Way, alongside the organisation, designed a process that met the apparent and emerging needs of this workplace dispute. The team was more positive, and the leadership team had direct insights into the knock-on health and safety risks of a poor workplace culture.
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about Fair Way’s workplace services, or to arrange a facilitation, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 77 44 08.