cynical, disengaged employees become a toxic presence in the
workplace. It may be necessary to reassign or even physically relo-cate
individuals to help curb gossip-mongering or the outright
negativity that can metastasize and poison the work environment.
Although in some cases, the only effective way to deal with jaded
employees is through termination, but only as a last resort after
other corrective measures have been exhausted.
Not to be overlooked, the organization’s workplace policies
should be drafted in a manner that shores up the restoration plan.
Policy content should include key themes that can effectively pre-empt
and neutralize anticipated fallout and behaviours that usually
manifest during and in the wake of a workplace investigation pro-cess,
such as rumour-mongering, pre-judgments, fault-finding and
brand/leader credibility loss.
For example, that means ensuring that workplace policies, such
as those related to harassment, emphasize that an employee placed
on a non-disciplinary suspension should not be prematurely pre-sumed
guilty of wrongdoing; that no conclusions should be made
by a leader regarding the investigation because communications
will be constrained by confidentiality; and that gossiping about
the investigation can compromise the process and its outcome.
Policies can also be effective in pre-acknowledging the impact that
an investigation process could have on workplace culture and in
socializing employees to expect that restorative activities may be
undertaken to repair any adverse impact.
Now, some leaders will question the logic or priority of building
a workplace restoration plan to manage a challenge that may never
arise. However, as any experienced HR professional can attest,
even minor issues can develop into costly, stressful and devastat-ing
problems that become challenging to resolve if they escalate. In
that sense, taking a proactive approach to workplace restoration is
a hedge against worst-case scenarios that could threaten the orga-nization’s
At a time of increased competition, when everything from inno-vation
to the recruitment and retention of top talent are such
crucial considerations for organizations, being caught off-guard
by a disruptive workplace incident simply isn’t worth the risk. n
Laura Williams is the founder, a principal and lawyer of Williams
HR Law and Williams HR Consulting. Attend Williams’
presentations, “Restoring the Workplace: #AfterTheInvestigation,”
on Jan. 30 at 11 a.m., and, “Bill 148 Amendments to the Labour
Relations Act: One Year Later,” on Jan. 30 at 3 p.m.
highwaystarz / 123RF
NOT TO BE OVERLOOKED, THE
ORGANIZATION’S WORKPLACE POLICIES
SHOULD BE DRAFTED IN A MANNER THAT
SHORES UP THE RESTORATION PLAN.
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ CONFERENCE ISSUE 2019 ❚ 45