Managing HR Risk with Workplace Investigation Tools in 2024

Your organization faces all types of risk every day. Whether that risk is related to health & safety, HR, fraud incidents, or others, it’s important for HR leaders to identify risk areas through a risk assessment. Conducting an organizational risk assessment has moral, legal, and financial benefits and can help you prevent these incidents. But in 2024, with the sheer amount of risk that your organization is facing, you need to be sure you employ the right tools during a risk assessment. This guide will help you identify, analyze, and prevent hazards in your workplace, so you can better protect your employees and your organization.

HR Risks to Look Out For

As the working landscape changes, so do the HR risks your organization might encounter. In 2024, here are some of the top issues your organization might be facing.

Power Disparities

There is always a chance that those who hold more power in your organization might gaslight victims into thinking their behaviour is acceptable. Managers might even fail to report issues to HR. A positive way of reducing the impact of these power dynamics is to build equitable treatment into your culture through policies, and processes. This holistic approach should decrease power disparities organically, helping prevent this risk area prior to an incident occurring.


Bureaucratic rules and systems keep things running smoothly in large companies and government workplaces. While multi-step procedures ensure consistency and compliance, they also slow down time-sensitive processes. To reduce risk, make reporting easy. Offer multiple avenues for employees to submit complaints, such as a hotline, online form, and dedicated email address. Make each one user-friendly, and remind employees often that these mechanisms exist, where to find them, and how to use them.

Remote Harassment

A common misconception is that if employees aren’t interacting in person, there is little opportunity for harassment. In fact, the opposite is true. “There’s more [risk of a] toxic work environment in a remote work setting,” says HR expert Catherine Mattice. To prevent these behaviours, make your remote workspaces as collaborative and communicative as possible.

Poor Tone from the Top

In many organizations, the C-suite sets the ethical tone. If managers openly bully their employees, ignore policies, or communicate aggressively, lower-level employees might also think they can do those things. Employees likely won’t buy into a more ethical culture unless managers do. To get employees at every level on board, take these steps:

  • Update training with separate modules for managers and employees.
  • Apply policies and discipline consistently, regardless of employee level, tenure, or department.
  • Encourage employees to report misconduct and provide them with secure resources to do so.

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Workplace Investigation Tools That Can Reduce Your HR Risk in 2024

Addressing your organization’s risks (and preventing incidents) isn’t easy. That’s why you need the right arsenal of workplace investigation tools to maximize your team’s efficiency and effectiveness.

Case Management Software

Case management software can help you improve reporting of incidents, resolve cases more efficiently, and take steps to stop future issues before they happen, all with one tool.

Choose a system that integrates with your existing databases and complaint intake mechanisms to reduce administrative work and get straight into investigating.  A case management software offers a centralized, secure platform for collaborating on investigations, ensuring documentation is easy to find and keeping team members on the same page. Some systems also help you analyze your historical case data, highlighting trends for data-driven prevention planning.

The more organized your investigations are, the faster you can resolve incidents and implement preventive actions.

Employee Training

With more rapid changes to best practices, legislation, and technology than ever, it can be difficult to keep up. But that’s exactly why you should keep your employee training modules up to date.

Training doesn’t have to be a boring lecture. Instead, create internal podcasts or webinars that will keep important topics, like conflict management and giving and receiving feedback, top of mind for employees.

Investigations Maturity Model

As you conduct your workplace investigations, getting stuck in a routine is easy. However, continuous improvement protects employees and makes your investigative processes easier and more efficient.

To get started, use an investigations maturity model. This tool helps investigative teams determine their program’s strengths and areas of risk or weakness. Your program could fall into one of five levels of maturity. Each stage comes with its own risks and steps to improve. Once you’ve determined your program’s level of maturity, make an action plan for addressing your weaknesses so you can protect both employees and your organization through more effective investigations.

Risk Assessment Matrix

A risk assessment matrix is another helpful tool for determining your organization’s risk. To conduct your risk assessment, begin by defining its scope. Whatever your objective, define it clearly.

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Identify hazards
  2. Calculate likelihood
  3. Calculate consequences
  4. Calculate risk rating
  5. Create an action plan
  6. Use the matrix’s color codes to determine risk level (see image below); green is low, yellow is medium, orange is high, red is extreme

Conduct separate risk assessments for each goal, department, or project to keep things organized. Remember to modify the risk assessment forms to include details specific to your field. For example, a data security risk assessment might list hazard locations (e.g., internal or external).

Employee Hotline

“There’s only two reasons people don’t speak up: one, they fear retaliation, and two, they believe that nothing will happen,” says Meric Bloch, Principal at Winter Investigations. If employees don’t trust that they’ll be protected and taken seriously when they report, they won’t speak up. Don’t put off implementing reporting mechanisms and a culture of speaking up because you’re afraid of the results. Empowering employees in this way helps them incite the changes they need and helps your organization reduce risk, attract talent, and maintain a positive public reputation.

Protect Your Organization with the Right Tools

No two organizations will share the exact same risk management approach. To create the most effective plan for you, review the risk factors and determine your risk level for each one. Once you know the patterns of employee misconduct and areas of risk, make a plan to address and prevent each of these using the tools above. You can expect to face risk in many different ways throughout your organization this year. Spotting the red flags of discrimination, harassment, and other misconduct before incidents occur protects your employees, your reputation, and even your bottom line.

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case managementcase management softwareEmployee TrainingEmployeesGuest PostHR expert Catherine MatticeIdentify hazardsInterviewInvestigations Maturity ModelMeric BlochOrganizationsPepperdine University in CaliforniaRisk Assessment MatrixShannon Walkerworkplace investigation