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Front. Psychol.
Sec. Organizational Psychology
Volume 15 - 2024 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2024.1350351
This article is part of the Research Topic Healthy Healthcare: Opportunities and Pitfalls Of Designing and Conducting Research and Practice in Healthcare Settings? View all 4 articles

The last resort: Reducing avoidable employee harm by improving the application of the disciplinary policy and process

Provisionally accepted
Andrew Cooper Andrew Cooper 1,2,3*Kevin R. Teoh Kevin R. Teoh 4Ruth Madine Ruth Madine 1Adrian Neal Adrian Neal 1,2Aled Jones Aled Jones 2Ammarah Hussain Ammarah Hussain 5Doris A. Behrens Doris A. Behrens 1,6,7
  • 1 Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Newport, United Kingdom
  • 2 University of Plymouth, Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
  • 3 Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
  • 4 Birkbeck, University of London, London, United Kingdom
  • 5 North East London NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom
  • 6 University for Continuing Education Krems, Krems an der Donau, Lower Austria, Austria
  • 7 Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

    There is growing evidence within the healthcare sector that employee investigations can harm individuals involved in the process, an organisation's culture and the delivery of its services. This paper details an intervention developed by an NHS Wales organisation to reduce the number of its employee investigations through an organisation-wide focus that promoted a 'last resort' approach and introduced the concept of 'avoidable employee harm'.A range of associated improvement initiatives were developed to support behaviour change among those responsible for determining whether an employee investigation should be initiated. Over a 13-month period, organisational records showed an annual reduction of 71% in investigation cases post-intervention, resulting in an estimated 3,308 sickness days averted annually and total estimated annual savings of £738,133 (based on direct savings and costs averted). This shows that the organisation has started to embrace the 'last resort' approach to using employee investigations to address work place issues.The programme was supported with training for those responsible for commissioning and leading the organisation's employee investigations. Analysis of survey data from those who attended training workshops to support the programme indicated that participants showed an increased awareness of the employee investigation process post-workshop and an understanding of the concept of avoidable employee harm.The programme is congruent with the Healthy Healthcare concept, as the study illustrates how its practices and processes have a beneficial impact on staff, as well as potentially on patients.This study highlights wider issues for consideration, including the:(1) The role of Human Resources (HR)(2) Taking a multi-disciplinary approach (3) Culture and practice (4) The responsibility of the wider HR profession

    Keywords: Disciplinary processes, Human resources management (HRM) practices, Avoidable employee harm, Employee investigations, psychological safety, organisational culture, NHS

    Received: 05 Dec 2023; Accepted: 14 Jun 2024.

    Copyright: © 2024 Cooper, Teoh, Madine, Neal, Jones, Hussain and Behrens. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

    * Correspondence: Andrew Cooper, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Newport, United Kingdom

    Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.