As an HR professional, it must be a daily business for you to deal with employee grievances. The grievances may be genuine or sometimes illusory to the employees who feel a certain dissatisfaction regarding their job or the management.
If not resolved on time, it can lower employee morale, create inefficiency and increase absenteeism among the employees. In short, your ability in handling grievances of employees can have a direct impact on overall productivity at work.
Defining Employee Grievances
Employee grievance can be simply defined as the discontentment caused by the gap between what your employees expect and what they fail to get. It may or may not be justified but needs to be tackled very carefully. A considerable amount of time must be invested by the HR person to talk to the employees to understand their grievances.
Identifying employees’ grievances can be a challenge in personnel management. However, there are certain ways that can help you in this job. You can consider the following points to know that the employees are not happy:
Changed Behavior: Human behavior reflects a lot about how they are feeling. Every good HR manager should have the considerable emotional intelligence to handle a grievance. A routined direct observation can be a great problem solver. Periodic one on one conversations, group meetings, collective bargaining, and employee counseling sessions are the best occasions when direct observation can be the highest effective.
Suggestion Boxes: For anonymous complaints, it can be placed in different accessible locations within the office. The fear of adverse managerial actions can be avoided through this method.
Open-door Policy: It is one of the best employee empowerment techniques in the workplace. It refers to open communication and transparency that allows them to be in touch with the senior management, to get their grievances addressed.
Opinion Surveys: These surveys can be used in understanding different employee opinions regarding workplace satisfaction. It may be conducted periodically in the form of questionnaires and self-report measures.
Effective Exit-Interviews: If answered honestly, exit interviews can provide constructive reflections on the impact that the company culture has on its employees. By knowing the reasons for leaving the job, employers can make the best possible changes with improved management policies.
Here’s a list of leading causes of Employee Grievances:
- Undesirable working conditions in physical terms.
- Changes without prior notice.
- Poor employee relations.
- Improper wage adjustments.
- Dissatisfactory office policies in case of:
- Violation of laws.
- Inadequate safety,health,and welfare amenities.
- Labor-management hostility.
- Incidences of workplace favoritism and nepotism.
- Lack of organizational discipline.
No matter what sort of organisation it is, in the everyday working environments problems occur quite frequently which demands reasonable solutions. Every complaint needs careful and proper handling. Your primary aim should be in dealing with grievances informally. However, if the complaint is of a serious nature, the employee might raise a follow a formal grievance.
By law, every company should have a grievance policy. The formal, written document should let the employees know the point of contact if they have an issue and should set forth the process and the time limits of each action. Here’s how you can take actions on employee grievances that should be considered for a timely resolution.
8 Effective Steps To Handle Employee Grievances Most Effectively:
1. Create the system:
The first thing is to set up the grievance redressal system for your companies to help your employees lodge complaints and grievances so that it can be resolved. Things that you must consider here are-
The grievance procedure must be added to the employee handbook’s content so that it can be easily accessed by all.
Someone must take responsibility for grievance receipts. The employees must be ensured that their complaints are placed in confidence. Generally, it should be someone from the Human Resources Department.
The place of receiving the complaints must be within reach to all. That is, it should be located centrally. If you use a grievance box, it should be in the area of common accessibility.
As it might involve personal matters, it is important to focus on confidentiality while dealing with employees’ grievances. Involving the least number of people prevents the matter from being widespread.
The complaints put forwards must be followed up timely. That is, no issue should be on hold for a long time. It should follow a schedule so that the employees can expect a certain level of responsiveness within a specified time period.
2. Acknowledge the grievance:
You should listen more than you talk while dealing with employee grievance. When your employees come to you lamenting over an issue, lend them your ear.
That doesn’t mean that it should be resolved immediately but so that your employees know that their complaint is acknowledged. Let your employees know that you have received their report and are willing to do something about it.
Not all issues qualify for a hearing. Generally, it is important to review whether the grievance is valid or not. Inquire about the incidents or situations and gather any relevant information. It may not always be necessary but if the matter involves other staff, they will need to be informed and given a chance to explain themselves and put forward their own shreds of evidence.
Once the investigation is over, you can arrange a formal meeting.
4. Hold the formal meeting:
The employee with the grievance and all the relevant parties should be called to be present in the formal hearing. The employee can put forward any evidence that backs up the complaint and explain how they would like the problem to be resolved. Later on, you can circulate the minutes of the meeting notes.
5. Take your decision and act accordingly:
This is the decision making phase. Once you have collected all the required information and examined the situation closely, you should make a decision.
You might decide to accept the grievance in full or part, or reject it completely. You need to let the employee know in writing about the actions that you will take. At the same time, you can advise the employee on how they should deal with similar situations.
6. Appeal process:
Your employee might not accept your decision and has the right to an appeal. Here again, your grievance policy should outline the terms and conditions of the appeal process.
It should start with an appeal letter written by the employees, informing the reasons why they want the decision to be reconsidered. To ensure impartiality, the appeal should be heard by another manager or supervisor who was not a part of the first meeting.
This should be followed by an appeal hearing with new evidence. The decision of the same should be informed to the employee in writing. If your employee is still not satisfied, it can either be mediated or escalated to the employment tribunal.
7. Review the situation:
It’s always healthy to have an objective look back at your decisions. If the employee is happy with the resolution, you were good at settling the issue. In fact, it can prove great to your company culture.
If the prevailing policy ensures justice, it can foster a sense of pride and accountability in the employees’ work. That’s the benefit of implementing a fast and effective grievance procedure.
8. Uproot the main cause of grievance:
Your aim is to go for a long-lasting solution. That is, a formal complaint should be addressed once and for all. This prevents your employees from coming back again and again with the same issue.
The key solution here lies in identifying the root cause of the problem and making sure to solve the problem completely, with the scope of adjustments, if necessary.
The successful operation of a grievance procedure requires the maintenance of sufficient records, experience and fair treatment to all.
However, there might arise some special circumstances when the above-mentioned process needs to be modified for better. The Human Resource Department reserves the right to revise the same as necessary and appropriate.