For Ethics & Compliance professionals, internal investigations are routine.
But for the average employee, they are not. Anyone participating in an investigation, either as a source, subject, or witness, will count the experience as one of the most emotionally-charged events of their career. They will remember where they were when the got the call from the investigator, and they will remember how nervous they felt when they entered the small, windowless conference room.
Investigators must therefore be as professional, fair, and kind as possible. In most cases, the employees they interact with will continue to work for the organization after the investigation, and they will share that experience with others.
Every investigative interview must be seen as an opportunity to build trust.