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DNR Investigations and Conflict Resolution Analysis

The Client

Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Human Resources Office

The Challenge

Improve processes to address alleged misconduct. Each year, the DNR conducts dozens of investigations related to alleged employee misconduct. These investigations of internal and external allegations involve sensitive issues that can have a major impact on individual employees and the organization. The Human Resources Office asked MAD to conduct an in-depth analysis of its process and address key questions for improvement. For example, were there ways to streamline the process? How did DNR's process compare to those used by other public and private sector organizations? DNR also wanted to consider other ways, beyond investigations, to address employee conflict and support a professional and respectful workplace culture.

The Approach

MAD worked closely with the Human Resources Office to design and complete a study that included research on best practices, and provided practical recommendations for improving DNR's response to alleged misconduct and other employee conflict. MAD consulted with the client to:

  • Compare DNR's investigations process to the processes used by other public and private organizations, and identify best or better practices for investigations and conflict management.
  • Use data analysis tools to identify trends in DNR's investigations and processes.
  • Present data, conclusions and recommendations throughout the study to assist the agency in changing practices or to shape the study to address new issues.
  • Recommend and discuss ways to improve how the DNR conducts investigations, tracks data and develops alternative approaches to addressing workplace conflict.
  • Provide a full report for use by DNR leaders and staff charged with improving the way the agency addresses alleged employee misconduct.

The Results

Key DNR managers incorporated the results of MAD's study along with their own examination of investigation issues and are developing a more comprehensive approach to workplace conflict. The DNR made changes to their investigation communication processes so that employees and supervisors understand timelines and have clear expectations. Other changes, such as developing an informal case screening process, have made a difference in case processing times and case volume.

The Consultants

Laura Iversen

Beth Bibus | Beth.Bibus@state.mn.us

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