Investigators don’t get many opportunities to make lives easier for the agency staff they oversee. When an opportunity does come along to do a favor without compromising oversight or independence, it’s a great way to build some goodwill. It has the added benefit of reminding investigative staff that their skills are respected within the agency, which can improve morale. One example of this is a request to ensure that an agency staff member who is up for promotion hasn’t demonstrated ethical lapses. Another example is being asked to assist with an agency interview that falls outside of the scope of their day-to-day role as an investigator, or being asked to assist with an interview before there's a formal allegation of wrongdoing.
These tasks do take time, however, and they often don’t directly contribute to the primary goals of investigators – eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse. For agencies facing budget or staffing constraints, this reduces the time available to manage the team’s caseload. How do you balance earning the goodwill of agency staff with getting your high priority tasks completed?
The most important thing is to internally track and document the efforts required to complete these non-mission-critical tasks. Although each individual task may not take much time, it’s unclear how often agency staff are performing these tasks until that data has been compiled. Creating a case workflow in your case tracking software and assigning time to that activity will allow you to determine how much time and effort is required to fulfill the requests.
Based on the time required and the benefits seen by your team and the agency, this data can be used to accomplish two different outcomes. If the task is important and beneficial, and the investigative team is best equipped to complete it, the information can be used to justify additional resources during budgeting. The information can also be included in reports to oversight agencies, to demonstrate the value being provided by your investigators.
On the other hand, if the task is an afterthought but is requiring a significant amount of time on your team’s behalf, the data can be presented to the agency along with a request to further discuss the value you’re providing – or to politely decline future efforts on the task due to a resource shortage. Either way, the data is providing your team with a better understanding of where its time is going, and how much benefit is being gained.
To learn more about how WingSwept’s case management software CMTS can help your team operate more efficiently and close more cases, call us at 919.600.5102 or email Team_CMTS@WingSwept.com.