Ep 8 –  Microsoft Changes Employee Investigation Process

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Here are today’s HR and workplace news headlines from Workology Go Podcast. I’m Jessica Miller-Merrell. The Workology Go Podcast is sponsored by HSA Bank.

Ep 8 – Microsoft Changes Employee Investigation Process

One of my least favorite parts of my job working in HR has always been employee investigations. It’s hard to balance the full investigation and the communication especially as an individual who is also supposed to be objective.

Microsoft recently changed its investigation process and created an Employee Advocacy Team.  This team will assist employees going through an investigation checking on all the employees involved including the ones who are interviewed as witnesses, managers, and those accused.

As the number of workplace investigations increases with many of these being high profile in the media, it’s important to ensure that all parties are communicated and treated with respect.

Microsoft’s creation of an advocacy team is a welcome one. It’s hard as the investigator to inform, engage, and field employee questions. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a group of individuals to reinforce and support HR’s role differently.

What is should companies and employers do to help create an inclusive workplace? Attorney, Kate Bishoff explains in a past Workology Podcast interview.

Well, the first thing employers and leaders need to do is make sure that they say and are open to every walk of life. Women, minorities everyone and what they need to do is a need to try to build inclusive communities of people in their workplaces that prohibit and actively prevent these kinds of comments from occurring in the workplace. That includes things like having a really good policy that’s accessible and not full of complicated legal ease. They welcome some complaints from employees whether it’s about comments like this or concerns about how to be a better employer or even how to improve processes. Things like that. And when you create these kinds of open communication and you will welcome and encourage employees to bring forth their concerns. You’re going to have a workplace where if something like this happens you learn about it. So starting with that policy then spending some time training managers about what the policy means how it works and then reinforcing that with employees and managers periodically after you’ve gone through the training. If you’re in California it requires two years of training for a manager that is updated periodically going forward. And so kind of setting the tone of inclusiveness and open communication can really limit and mitigate some of these comments going forward.

Negative Effects of Chronic Stress

An article published by the Atlantic found research that chronic stress caused by discrimination can contribute to mental and physical health problems. The article says that Dr. Monnica Williams, a clinical psychologist and an expert in race-based stress and trauma who counsels people grappling with the fallout from mistreatment at work, said the challenges of reporting such behavior often take an additional toll.

We have enough stress in our lives, and I think that Microsoft’s new team is a great move.

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Featured Story

Microsoft is Overhauling How It Investigates How It Handles HR Disputes

More Great Resources

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– Frank Discussion About the Culture of Sexual Harassment at Work

– It’s Hard to Speak Up at Work

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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