Three ways to encourage ethical behavior in any organization

Posted on April24, 2017
While investigations and audits play an important role in preventing wrongdoing in an agency, the best way to ensure ethical behavior is to promote it and to build a culture around it.  Research from the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, for instance, shows that employees at large companies with effective ethics programs are only half as likely to observe misconduct when compared with employees at companies without ethics programs. With this in mind, here are three things organizations can do to…

Recent Fraud Exposes Lack of Public’s Understanding of IG Offices

Posted on April18, 2017
Recently, there have been reports of a recorded message scam where someone poses as a representative of the Social Security Inspector General's office and warns that benefits have been suspended.  People who call the scammer back are told there is a warrant for their arrest and they should pay money to get it removed. As disgusting as it may be to prey on the elderly in this way, it’s also a reminder of how many people don’t understand the role…

Providing Confidence to Whistleblowers

Posted on April12, 2017
Whistleblowers are protected by dozens of federal whistleblower laws, and most states have whistleblower protection laws, too.  Yet 20% of federal employees believe they’ll face reprisal for reporting wrongdoing.  What can your office do to assure employees they’ll be safe if they report wrongdoing to you? Communicate informant protections – People submitting complaints are protected by various laws, depending on the agency receiving the complaint.  Communicate, in plain English, the laws protecting whistleblowers and the specific situations where their identity…

Boosting the Productivity of Your Traveling Investigators

Posted on April05, 2017
If your office has field investigators, you’ve likely run into technical challenges that stifle productivity.  Most offices have technology that’s designed to work well in the office – how well it works outside of the office varies dramatically from office to office.  Here are a few things you can do to make sure your traveling investigators aren’t being held back by technology. Provide plenty of cellular data on a strong network – Wireless networks seem ubiquitous, but they aren’t.  Investigators…

Training the New Generation of Investigators

Posted on March31, 2017
The following is a guest post from Mark Anderson, Director of Training and Development with Anderson Investigative Associates.  AIA specializes in customized training for audit, evaluation, inspection, investigation and human resources professionals. Mark is a retired Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General (DOJ/OIG) who served as a Program Manager and Instructor at the Inspector General Criminal Investigator Academy (IGCIA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in…

Does Your Investigative Team Qualify as a “High Morale Team?”

Posted on March23, 2017
When your office is charged with investigating the agency you are a part of, you are at best looked at warily by the rest of the agency you oversee.  This can make positive employee morale especially challenging in investigative offices.  In order to keep staff morale high, the investigative team must focus on it even more extensively than most other agency groups.  Here are five tips to accomplish just that. Don’t Allow Toxic Personalities in Your Office. People who are…

Vacant Positions, Hiring Freeze Holding Federal IGs Back

Posted on March17, 2017
Any presidential transition causes disruption to the government, as new presidents have to appoint literally thousands of new executives across the entire range of federal agencies.  But with the pace of appointments running behind other transitions, and with so many major initiatives being pursued early in the presidency, the current slowdown is more pronounced than usual. Beyond the transition, however, there are two other major factors which are holding federal IGs back from being as effective as they could be.…

Recognize Excellent Investigators If You Want To Keep Them

Posted on March10, 2017
According to a Gallup study from several months ago, only one in three employees strongly agree that they received recognition or praise for any of the work they had done over the past week.  This is a bad sign for retention - employees who don’t feel recognized are twice as likely to say they plan on quitting their jobs within a year. Do your investigators feel like their contributions are appreciated and respected?  Here are a few tips on acknowledging…

Does Your Investigative Team Have a Strong Decision-Making Process?

Posted on March03, 2017
The publicly-available reports detailing an investigative agency’s results can make the work of an investigator seem black and white: a certain number of cases were opened, a percentage of those were substantiated, and a smaller percentage were referred for prosecution.  In-between each of those steps, however, are a number of grey areas where investigators must make tough decisions.  Does the team have enough evidence that a minor complaint should be dropped because it can’t be substantiated?  Is the evidence in…

People’s Strong Dissatisfaction with Government Increasing

Posted on February26, 2017
We’ve previously discussed citizens’ perceptions that corruption in the Federal Government is “widespread”.  While updated information on perceptions specific to corruption isn’t yet available, new poll results indicate that citizens’ eyes are still firmly on the government as they consider the challenges they face. Gallup poll data from January 2017 show that a growing percentage of people are highly dissatisfied with their government.  In fact, 11% of all people polled said that the government is the single most important problem…