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New training urges NHS Wales employers to make employee relations investigations the last resort

Last month, Health Education and Improvement Wales partnered with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to deliver their Employee Investigations: Looking after your people and the process training for NHS organisations in Wales.

The event highlighted the harm that investigation processes can cause to individuals being investigated, as well as those involved in the process. It also considered the potential harm to an organisation’s culture and reputation, diverting time and resources away from delivering its core business.

Learning and compassionate environments

Julie Rogers, Deputy CEO at HEIW said: “The work that Aneurin Bevan has been taking forward to improve the staff experience of its employee investigations aligns with our focus on compassionate leadership at HEIW. It is so important that organisations don’t penalise their people for making legitimate mistakes by jumping straight into serious HR processes. We need to be doing all we can to support our staff through these periods, creating learning and compassionate environments so that we can retain them and ensure that they thrive.”

Whilst presenters acknowledged that employee investigations are sometimes necessary for addressing workplace issues – the growing realisation that they are so costly to individual wellbeing, organisation culture and effectiveness means they should be considered a last resort. The training focussed on the importance of understanding the reasons for how an issue may have arisen and being aware of the options for addressing it, without always taking a formal route.

Nicky Hughes, Associate Director of Nursing for employment relations at RCN Wales, said: “This new focus on how organisations manage their employee investigation is really welcome and a positive step forward for our members.”

Reduction in staff absence


Colleagues from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Welsh Ambulance Services Trust, who are also taking their organisation through the training, were able to report a reduction in the number of investigations they had run over the last six months – leading to a reduction in staff absence and financial savings.

Health Education and Improvement Wales has partnered with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to develop this programme.