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OK so here it is. Are you listening? Are you prepared to (maybe) be a little bit shocked or alternatively be completely unsurprised? The secret about a disciplinary investigation that a HR professional often won’t admit is that deep down, some of us, actually enjoy a good disciplinary process.
We’re not monsters. We don’t enjoy the discomfort that quite often can’t be avoided, and we don’t revel in the consequences. However, there are several aspects to this type of work that’s very interesting.
I enjoy finding evidence, plotting together a sequence of events and building a case.
I enjoy the investigative elements to a good disciplinary process, including getting to the bottom of what has happened. I enjoy finding evidence, plotting together a sequence of events and building a case. A case which might either prove or disprove an allegation against an employee. This logical process is interesting.
I also enjoy righting a wrong. For example, where an employee’s purposeful actions have caused great distress to other people and having the ability to call the employee out on it, identify to them the behavior or conduct that is unacceptable and putting it right.
I have also seen my fellow HR practitioners take satisfaction when having an employee downright lie to them, only for my fellow HR practitioners to put evidence in front of them that then proves that they are being dishonest.
A disciplinary process in a work environment is different but based on the same principles of a criminal investigation.
A disciplinary process in a work environment is different but based on the same principles of a criminal investigation, with a disciplinary hearing not entirely too dissimilar to a trial.
It is an honourable job to be a police officer or legal professional so why does it almost feel a little dirty admitting that many of us HR professionals get a degree of enjoyment from a disciplinary process?
As I said, most of us in HR don’t enjoy the stressful, distressing and upsetting nature of a disciplinary process. We don’t like dismissing people and we aren’t inhumane (on the whole).
However, the harsh reality is that a ‘meaty’ disciplinary case is often just a lot more interesting, exciting and fulfilling than some of the other tasks a generalist might be responsible for and variety, as they say, is the spice of life.