Some employee problems pose special challenges. Consider this scenario:
The only black employee on a seven person team believes that he is being ostracized by other team members because of his race. He alleges that the team manager is prejudiced and gives him undesirable assignments. The team manager and most of the other team members claim race has nothing to do with their behavior and that they refrain from associating with the employee because he is taping or writing down accounts of their conversations. The black employee says he is simply documenting what has been done. His allegations are supported by one other employee, but that person was disciplined a few months ago and may be seeking revenge against the team manager. A few of the comments by the black employee indicate that he may be emotionally disturbed.
What do you do?
Assuming the employee's discrimination complaint is investigated by Human Resources and a finding is made, will the likely result address the problem? In many cases, regardless of which side wins, the answer is no. The underlying issues have not been addressed. A cauldron of personnel problems has been left on a fire.
One reason is that management's solution has approached only a portion of the problem. The legal issue of illegal discrimination has been tackled but the team problems, the caliber of leadership, and the possible psychological problems have not been resolved.
One solution is an HR SWAT team - composed of an employment attorney, a management consultant, an HR representative, and a psychologist - that is charged with the task of preparing a comprehensive solution. Aside from the expanded expertise, this group has the ability to produce a solution far more quickly than the traditional approach that would involve these professionals at different points and in separate meetings.
Organizations that prefer the separate approach are losing time and expertise. Ultimately, they may lose the chance to solve the real problem.