Investigation of complaints
WAVE offers external investigation into complaints of bullying or harassment. Investigations need to be procedurally fair and provide show how outcomes have been arrived at.
Our process involves;
- Interviewing the complainant/s and putting the allegations into writing
- Interviewing the respondent/s to the complaint and putting their responses into writing
- Interviewing any relevant witnesses in relation to the allegations or counter-allegations
- Compiling a draft report of all relevant statements and presenting this to the complainant/s and respondent/s so they can further respond to the evidence
- Weighing the evidence
- Compiling a final report with conclusions, the basis for those conclusions, and recommendations for resolution
WAVE provides facilitation for teams who want to develop their sense of purpose and group culture. Group facilitation can be a useful way to address bullying, harassment, conflict or stress.
Bullying and harassment affect groups and they can develop certain kinds of cultural elements, often referred to as a climate of fear, toxicity, polarisation, the code of silence, blame, “us and them” dynamics.
Group facilitation involves a facilitator who assists people to address issues safely and effectively.
Some examples of this;
- An accused “bully” asks for a process whereby people in his team can give him direct feedback, rather than have things discussed behind his back.
- Parties to a conflict wish to clear the air with each other and want a group process involving appropriate others to bring about closure.
- A fractured team wants to address the underlying causes of their division so they can move forward.
- A team who have been bullied by a previous manager who has gone, now want to bring about closure and move forward.
- A team want to work on their values and behavioural agreements, or look at processes they can use to resolve issues amongst themselves.
- A team have an issue to discuss and want a facilitator to guide the process and ensure a safe and effective process.
Coaching For Managers
WAVE offers a coaching service for managers who want assistance dealing with difficult situations, or cases of bullying or harassment in their team.
We also offer individual coaching for those accused of bullying or harassment. In many cases bullies and harassers can change their behaviour and can benefit from one on one coaching.
Coaching is charged at an hourly rate.
WAVE offers various mediation processes as an option to deal with cases of harassment, bullying or conflict.
- Facilitated discussions that help people have difficult conversations under the guidance of a trained facilitator.
- Direct mediation. Parties come together with a mediator present to guide the process
- Shuttle mediation. Parties do not come together directly and the mediator “shuttles” between them. This can be a safer way to approach mediation especially in the first instance.
- Round-table mediation. The parties are together with the mediator and other appropriate people who have a bearing on the outcome. Everyone hears and discusses the issues. The outcome is arrived at through a small group approach.
We also acknowledge that mediation (especially direct mediation or round-table mediation) may not be safe or appropriate in some cases. We do not wish to see people victimised through mediation and will not bring parties together unless it is safe to do so, and people are ready.
Consulting and troubleshooting
We know how difficult it can be trying to address a bullying or harassment issue. They are generally complex and highly charged with emotion. People often down-play issues, but sometimes over-play issues as well. Sometimes the target has also engaged in retaliatory bullying. Sometimes it might be the perpetrator who has come to see you. All may not be as it seems. It is important to maintain a focus on safety, fairness and dignity.
Some advice that might help in the initial phase is;
- Take the issue seriously even if it is down-played
- Treat bullying and harassment as hazards and ensure people involved understand how to identify what bullying behaviours are and what is inappropriate
- Don’t assume the person wants to make a complaint. Discuss the option of a formal complaint and an investigation into the allegations, but also discuss informal options that focus on resolution, stopping behaviours of concern and managing the relationship into the future. Allow the person who has raised the concerns to choose what they want as an outcome.
- Get advice on how to act and focus on safety.
If you need some confidential advice then email WAVE, firstname.lastname@example.org. Generally we will get back to you within 24 hours. There is a charge for time if it is over 15 minutes. Most of the time cases can be dealt with using phone, email, skype combinations. If it prevents people retaliating, taking sick leave, resigning, taking Personal Grievances and other costly exercises, then it may well be worth it.
Prevention is better than cure. The prevention programme that WAVE supports involves the following;
- Comprehensive bullying and harassment prevention policy.
- Mandatory training for all staff that creates awareness of bullying and harassment as hazardous behaviours. Developing induction training (see online training options)
- Training for managers on how to prevent bullying and harassment as well as how to respond effectively to concerns or complaints.
- Training Contact Persons who can be approached by people at work who have concerns about bullying or harassment. These people create an effective prevention impact in the workplace by dealing effectively with contacts and helping to “nip in the bud” issues before they get worse.
- Ensuring the organisations Values, Code of Conduct, Health and Safety, Disciplinary policies all connect well.
- Guides and training for managing formal investigations and for informal resolution options.
- External support from WAVE just an email or phone call away.