In earlier articles, I have urged that companies should have an arrangement in place with an outside crisis management resource for the purpose of tracking areas of activity that may have the potential to develop into crisis.
To make a long story short, discovering and dealing with sensitive factors before they become crisis issues is not only less expensive, but the options for remediation are greater and more private than reacting to the knocks on the door by external investigators.
If you just let everything ride until that door knock, you face the following uncontrollable issues.
You have no organized approach to crisis avoidance and crisis intervention. You are left to scramble when it hits the fan. You have to seek competent assistance frequently under near panic circumstances. You are more likely to say and do inappropriate things. You really don’t know what to do or how to do it at the moment of crisis. You assign to in house people what ought to be assigned only to outside crisis counsel to optimize privilege protection. In house counsel, for instance, has fewer and narrower areas in which what must be done can be done without losing rights of confidentiality. What is done by in house counsel is more susceptible to being characterized as a sham and a cover up.
What is said to employees and others is often of lower quality when done in a rush. How to deal with investigators contacting employees when they are off campus is frequently mishandled. Their access to independent counsel at company expense is frequently mishandled. Often there is an inappropriate expectation that their independent counsel should be answerable to the company just because they are being paid by the company. How that retention is handled can reassure employees or make them more apprehensive and self defensive.
Employee interviews are often rushed and mishandled, giving the impression of threatening circumstances lest they place themselves at personal risk trying to protect the company. Obstruction of justice and perjury indictments sometimes result.
Encapsulation of information is often not accomplished competently or in a manner consistent with innocence or obligatory cooperation.
The list goes on.
Do yourself a favor. Be aware and prepared before the spotlight is on your company. You probably already know or at least suspect where the sensitive areas are.