Expanding far beyond simply the employee-employer relationship, an organization’s incident response process directly correlates to its reputation, employee morale, voluntary turnover, financial burdens, and more. To minimize reputational harm and maintain an ethical workplace culture, it’s essential for employers to fully understand the profound impact of their organization’s incident management approach in order to proactively prepare for future misconduct and resolve incidents without making rash, reactive decisions.
Navigating Challenges: The Dynamics of a Reactive Incident Management Approach
If employers don’t have an incident response plan in place, they are more likely to make sudden, reactive decisions that can have a lasting impact on an organization. Scrambling to pull together resources and methodologies to properly conduct, investigate, and resolve misconduct, employers are more likely to delay proper incident response, which could lead to a variety of repercussions including seriously damaging their reputation and future business. Additionally, with the average cost to litigate, defend, and settle a single claim being $160,000, employers expose themselves to financial risk when they take a reactive approach to incident management.
Consideration must also be given to the HR teams who shoulder the burden of conducting investigations as part of the incident management process. Handling investigations internally can place a significant strain on HR resources, diverting their attention from strategic HR initiatives. This reactive approach not only delays incident resolution but also adds to HR’s workload, impacting their ability to focus on other proactive measures to enhance the workplace.
Choosing to follow a reactive communication approach can be costly to employees as well. Acting in reaction to an incident instead of having a proper process in place can lead to employees questioning the importance of their safety and whether or not their employer is seriously investigating the incidents they experienced. This creates “unhealthy tension” amongst employees, increasing voluntary turnover and hiring costs.
Embracing a Proactive Approach to Incident Management
In contrast, the importance of a proactive approach to incident management cannot be overstated. Instead of waiting for incidents to happen, being proactive and prepared to handle common types of incidents like discrimination, harassment, and misconduct positively shapes the workplace by improving employee morale, increasing trust, and reducing voluntary turnover, providing employees psychological safety. By taking proactive measures to prevent future incidents such as clearly stating policies, offering annual misconduct training, or implementing an incident management platform, employees will be educated on the topic and more likely to report incidents without fearing retaliation. In addition, a proactive approach offers an immediate return on investment (ROI) as it mitigates an organization’s risk of litigation, while saving valuable time and resources.
The effects of a reactive approach to incident management can quickly snowball and create negative long-term implications for an organization. Moreover, when organizations handle investigations internally as part of their incident management process, it often places a significant strain on HR resources and diverts their attention from other strategic initiatives. This not only delays incident resolution but also adds to HR’s workload, impacting their ability to focus on proactive measures to enhance the workplace and ensure ethical conduct and compliance.
With Work Shield’s full-service misconduct solution, organizations can offload the burden of investigations. Work Shield’s professionally conducted investigations, combined with their comprehensive incident management software, provide a complete solution for addressing workplace misconduct. These investigations offer unbiased, efficient, and thorough handling of harassment and discrimination incidents, relieving HR teams from the time-consuming task of conducting these often multi-faceted investigations. By partnering with Work Shield, organizations can navigate and resolve incidents swiftly, while embracing a proactive approach to incident management and upholding their commitment to fostering an ethical and compliant workplace culture.