What Is a Workplace Investigations Maturity Model and Why Do You Need One?

Here's how to evaluate your workplace investigations program to learn your organizations strengths and opportunities for growth.

Ask workplace investigators, whether they be in HR, compliance, internal fraud or security, if they believe their organization has a good case management program, and most will say yes. They may be considering that their lawyers aren’t complaining about litigations, HR seems happy with the incident handling process or that their CEO praises their compliance program.

But investigators may not know what good case management really looks like, or that opportunities exist to improve the process. Have they considered that a workplace investigation should do more than determine if employee misconduct occurred and close the issue? That it should support the overall corporate compliance program and bolster a speak-up culture?

“There’s no way you’re going to be seen as valuable and effective if the thing you’re offering is not, in itself, valuable and effective,” explains Meric Bloch, Strategic Advisor, Designer and Trainer at Winter Investigations. If they want to be seen as valuable assets to the business side of their organization, investigators must first make sure their investigative processes are as efficient, thorough and compliant as possible.

An investigation should identify unacceptable workplace risks, and it should illuminate financial control weaknesses. Most importantly, organizational case management should promote business success. So, how do you know, objectively, that your organizations are effective at meeting these goals? Compare your organization’s processes to a maturity model.

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Workplace Investigations Maturity Model

Looking for a maturity model you can use to evaluate your organization's investigative program? In this white paper, Meric Bloch of Winter Investigations explains the stages of his model, how to use it and how to improve your program over time.

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What is a maturity model?

A  maturity model is defined as “a framework for measuring an organization’s maturity, with maturity being defined as a measurement of the ability of an organization for continuous improvement in a particular discipline.” Maturity reflects a function’s expected performance. The more significant the maturity, the more you can turn events or mistakes into teachable moments that lead to improvements.

For example, in April 2023, The Consortium for State and Regional Interoperability (CSRI) released their Health Data Utility Maturity Model. This document helps states and health data organizations see what they are doing right and where they have room to grow when it comes to processing and analyzing healthcare data.

Using a maturity model will not fix deficiencies, however. A model only helps to identify areas where the program is not operating according to leading practices and allows you to determine strategies to improve operations and processes.


Why create a workplace investigations maturity model?

Popular in many business functions including IT, marketing and finance, we’ve yet to find a maturity model that focuses on organizational case management processes.

When investigation processes are well designed, encourage collaboration between investigators and stakeholders, and reinforce accountability, the program has higher process maturity. This leads to better investigation results and greater contributions to business success.

Program maturity models can be descriptive, meaning they help you assess your current processes. They can be prescriptive, meaning they define optimal process maturity and provide guidance on achieving it. Finally, they can be comparative, meaning they help you understand how your processes compare to those in other companies.


How do you know where you are on the maturity model?

Think of each maturity stage as a step. At each stage, the program needs to achieve certain goals to advance. Each maturity stage is another step from ad hoc processes to optimized ones.

The processes in the model are mature when they have each of these qualities:

  • Defined: procedural steps are clearly specified; there is consistency in results
  • Efficient: the process is not cumbersome and requires reasonable efforts; process delays are an exception
  • Documented: decision points regarding report intake, the preliminary assessment and fact-gathering are detailed; investigators, program managers and stakeholders know where to find the information
  • Automated: the process automates any suitable case management steps
  • Effective: the process produces the anticipated results consistently


How do I rate my organization on the investigations maturity model?

First, compare your current investigative protocols to our workplace investigations maturity model from Meric Bloch. Where do your processes and data fall on the five stages? If your organization has attributes from different maturity levels, rate low so that you can take the necessary steps toward improvement.

In addition, register for Meric’s upcoming fireside chats. In this three-part series, he will discuss more details about the maturity model, a step-by-step process for determining your program’s maturity and how to level up your investigations over time. Save your spot here.