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Is it Conflict? Or Bullying?

Conflict is not bullying – but having said that – conflict left to fester can become bullying.

Understand what each of them are may help in determining what actions to take in the workplace.  Most of us know that while conflict can sometimes provide opportunities for new thoughts and different ideas; it’s not always comfortable. How it’s managed really is quite dependent on the workplace itself. Read more

Increased need for Investigation Skills

It could be media attention and an increased knowledge of human rights or it could be changes in beliefs about the right to work in a respectful workplace that has made the difference – I don’t know – but what I do know is that employee complaints are increasing and the need for workplace investigations are becoming more common.

Employers will have to learn how to manage investigations better than they have in the past. As a previous human resources practitioner, I dealt with a number of workplace investigations internally for my respective employers. As an external workplace investigator, I have come to realize that what I thought was good investigating would not stand up to the scrutiny of the courts today. I am not saying internal people can’t investigate – what I am saying is that there should be adequate training for those who are tasked with the duty to investigate. Read more

Do you need investigations training?

There is no doubt that people are speaking up more frequently about harassment in the workplace and beyond (discriminatory, sexual and personal).  Not too many days go by that we don’t see something in the media drawing our attention to harassment.

Most recently, we’ve heard of Shauna Hunt, the City News reporter who was confronted with sexual slurs at a recent Toronto soccer game.

And of course, Jian Ghomeshi is someone who has become a household name because of his inappropriate behaviours and he brought negative attention to CBC management Read more

Investigations Interviewing

Interviewing is the simple act of asking questions of someone to gain information. It is a critical part of almost any investigation. At its most basic level it can be done by anyone. But interviewing is a skill and often terrible interviewers will believe they are good at what they do.

What complicates interviewing is that many of the people being interviewed either do not realize they have important information or do not wish to give you the information they do have. What further complicates the interview process is that our personalities and actions will directly affect the information obtained in every interview. Read more

Dealing with the Fallout of an Investigation

stress at workNot too long ago, there was a question posed on Linked In about the ‘aftermath’ of an investigation.

The question is an excellent one and is something that should be considered when an investigation occurs in a workplace. Regardless of whether it’s done internally or externally, people are impacted by it.

Sometimes, you have people that have registered a complaint in good faith but it just doesn’t reach the bar of the violation they have complained about. The complainant believes he or she has been wronged because in his or her mind; the complaint is real and an incorrect conclusion was met. Read more


A troubled teenager named Bobby was sent to see his high-school counsellor, John Murphy. Bobby had been in trouble so many times that he was in danger of being shipped off to a special facility for kids with behavioral problems. Read more

Creating Culture

What kind of a culture do you want to create? Many organizations talk about workplace culture but I wonder how many really know what kind of a culture they truly have.

Unfortunately, the leaders of an organization are often out of touch with what happens on the ‘shop floor’ as it were and I’ll bet they’d be surprised at what they’d learn if they came into the organization as a new worker. Read more

Communicating Changes in the Workplace

Tips for communicating change!

Every organization at some point in time will have to announce some type of change in the workplace. It’s right up there with death and taxes – we can count on it! Read more

Coaching Employee Performance

Have you ever had to work with an employee to improve performance? Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope with an employee who just didn’t seem to ‘get it’?

Coaching an employee may be an opportunity for a win/win situation.  While it may seem that you’ve tried everything; trying to understand what the blocks are for the employee, I wonder how many of us think about coaching as opposed to considering discipline, as a way to achieve our goals. Read more

Case Study – Working through a Harassment Complaint

I had a client that was faced with an employee claiming that he had been getting harassed at work.  He felt that the harassment was in violation of his human rights.  The employer was a relatively small company and therefore had no specific policies in place with respect to harassment.  They did not have an employee handbook either, or any kind of documentation for that matter that spoke to behavioural expectations. Read more

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