Credit Control Journal Asset & Risk Review readers learn the value of recording important meetings and interviews

Solicitor and co-founder of transcription services provider DictateNow, Maxine Park recently explained to the readers of Credit Control Journal Asset & Risk Review, the importance of recording sensitive meetings and interviews.

One of the world’s leading academic research journals dedicated to the advancement of asset risk management, credit analysis and corporate and consumer risk.

The journal provides subscribers with practical illustrations as well as theoretical analysis and empirical studies on the development of credit risk, asset management, legal issues, accountancy and finance, and IT solutions.

Maxine’s article highlights how handling sensitive meetings and interviews badly can result in serious legal action being brought against your company, and how recording proceedings from start to finish can protect you against any such claims.

The article can be found in Volume 39 of the journal, starting on page 15.

Alternatively, read Maxine’s advice here:

Put staff interviews on the record and avoid unnecessary legal trouble

Abstract

 

Ministers have vowed to end employment tribunal fees after the Supreme Court

ruled they were ‘inconsistent with access to justice’. A significant increase in claims

from employees, who would previously have decided against pursuing an action, is

expected once the Government removes the fees. Now is a good time to make

recording employee interviews part of your organizations standard procedures. In

this article, the author explains why all organizations need to press ‘record’ more

often.

Introduction

The Supreme Court recently ruled that employment tribunal fees were obstructing the public’s access to justice, and advised that they should be overturned. Once the fees have officially been lifted, the number of employment tribunals is expected to increase, as proceedings no longer financially deter those making a claim.

With organisations facing this increased risk, businesses should start pressing record more often, according to Maxine Park, solicitor and co-founder of transcription services provider DictateNow:

Once these changes have been made, there will be no stopping individuals from seeking legal action against your company if they feel they have been unfairly treated, so it is important to adopt protective measures such as recording interviews and meetings.

Although an initial disciplinary matter may be dealt with informally, with a quiet word off the record, once the need for formal proceedings is established, it is very important that organisations follow the policies in place to stop the situation spiralling out of control.

Get it right every time

Those companies who do not follow set procedures risk landing themselves in hot water later down the line, opening your business up to claims of unfair dismissal or discrimination, with no official record to prove otherwise.

Such issues can be easily avoided by simply adhering to the policies in place – this is why companies are increasingly relying upon recordings to help protect their organisation, as well as the employee or candidate being interviewed.

It is always best practice to remind parties that an interview or meeting is being recorded, as this allows everyone to fully engage with the discussion, safe in the knowledge that they can get a copy of the recording after the meeting.

Recordings capture every word, so it is essential those managers tasked with undertaking disciplinary and grievance interviews etc., understand the correct procedure and stick to it, even in the face of provocation.

Knowing a meeting is being recorded can help keep emotions and feelings in check, protecting both parties from being on the receiving end of an unpleasant rant.

Helps to keep an open mind

Sound recordings also help protect organisations from the common accusation that a senior member of staff failed to keep an open mind during proceedings.

Not only does a recording capture the exact words spoken, but it also shows the tone of voice of individuals, which can be equally as important when deciding if someone was acting appropriately during the discussions.

And remember, the recording doesn’t miss words because it gets involved in an exchange of views too rapid to write down – it is always 100% accurate.

Get up to speed

Using a Dictaphone to record meetings or interviews can also speed up the administrative process, eliminating the need for typing up recordings afterwards.

Having an accurate recording of interviews and meetings also eliminates the need for multiple rounds of checks and amendments, which can help speed up transcription turnaround, post-meeting.

Another common complaint of employees is that the manager or senior member of staff failed to give them adequate time to voice their full opinion, instead dominating the discussion to eliminate the opportunity for a fair conversation.

Again, the knowledge the meeting is being recorded will help ensure managers act appropriately and give adequate opportunity to the employee to put their case across. The recording and subsequent transcription can also be useful to refute any accusation that the employee was not afforded sufficient time.

These recordings can also be used internally for training purposes, offering organisations an opportunity to review the meeting or interview and make necessary changes to procedure or policy based on how it was handled.

Go digital and download the app.

Smaller businesses should find that digital dictation machines, or dictation apps for Smartphones and tablets, will suffice for the small number of one-on-one personnel meetings they are likely to undertake.

For larger organisations, with an expectation of more such interviews, often with multiple attendees, transcription service providers can supply conference-style recording equipment, with multiple microphones. These help capture an accurate record of multiple speakers, even when they all talk at the same time.

Use the best and get a certificate

The best external service providers, well-versed in the process of transcribing hearings and interviews, will provide a certificate of accurate representation with the transcription.

This certifies the transcription is a faithful reproduction of the sound file, using verbatim transcription that includes all the ‘umms’ and ‘errs’ that have a direct effect on the flow and meaning of the conversations being recorded.

Unlike more traditional transcriptions of dictation where the skilled typist excludes mistakes and hesitations, in interview transcriptions, any omissions may inadvertently affect the intended meaning of any spoken response.

Failing to keep accurate records of an interview can cause problems at an appeal stage or if a case proceeds to an employment tribunal.

Having access to an accurate transcription of any interview, a certificate of accurate representation and the original recording, will significantly reduce any assertion that accurate records were not kept.

Any tribunal will appreciate the ability to listen to a recording of any interview, if it offers insight into the detail or emotions of the individuals involved.

Take it seriously

It is important that businesses do not view disciplinary meetings negatively, as they can actually be extremely useful when trying to diffuse a situation amicably.

By taking the decision to properly record meetings and interviews, you are demonstrating commitment as a company to serving all parties fairly and treating everyone equally, with no ‘your word against ours’ approach present.

External transcription service providers might be regarded as an unwarranted expense when most organisations are looking to cut costs, but just how much might the accusation an organisation acted inappropriately cost in the long run?