It’s the intention of every employer that their employees find the working environment safe and feel happy being there. But despite their best efforts, one may find some factors out of control that could hinder workplace morale, productivity and engagement. One may find him/her self occupied all the time dealing with employee complaints and grievances.
What leads to Employees filing a complaint?
Sometimes despite the best efforts from the employers, the work routine seems to riddled of conflicts and complaints. There are tons of issues in a workplace affecting employees that might not be visible from a manager’s perspective. Issues like harassment, bullying, discrimination, and abuse of power. Most of the times these issues are handled and neutralized by the employees themselves. Sometimes those efforts go in vain and they turn into grievances and complaints. As an employee couldn’t deal with it on his/her own, they seek help from the management, which is well within their rights as a member of the company. They deserve the right to ask for a safe place to work in. It is the responsibility of the company to help them feel secure. When those complaints are not properly addressed and handled by the company, they turn into million-dollar lawsuits.
How To Handle Employee Complaints / Grievances
It goes without saying that these complaints need to be effectively and efficiently resolved for the sake of the organization and its employees. As a manager, it’s your job to see through these issues and tackle them head-on. Any complaint or grievance filed deserves a fair hearing, regardless of whom it’s filed against.
While handling complaints might seem like a piece of cake that can be handled by anyone from the HR department, it isn’t. Not everyone is trained enough to deal with every type of complaint that is filed by the employees. Some complaints are too sensitive in nature and risky to be prematurely handled. Some complaints raise a direct conflict of interest for the person handling them. While hiring more people for the sole purpose of complaint management might seem a bit expensive, it’s certainly much more affordable than a million-dollar lawsuit.
Here’s a step by step guide on how to handle employee complaints and grievances:
1. Hire a Counselor
It goes beyond a certain doubt that sometimes all employees really need is attention to their problems and someone to care about the issues they are facing. Have a counselor on the company grounds that specializes in dealing with workplace problems through the means of guidance and wisdom. Having someone to talk to helps them deal with their problems without having to file a complaint.
2. Hire Field Experts
Every complaint must be handled without prejudice by an expert in the area. Have different specialists in place to best tackle the issue in charge. If one of the female employees file a complaint against a colleague for sexual misconduct, the issue is best handled by a female manager with proper skills and knowledge, rather than one naive HR manager who might transfer her to a different branch.
3. Hire Someone to Categorize and Assign Complaints
Have someone in place to categorize and assign all the complaints appropriately to the people best abled to handle them. If someone files a complaint against the branch manager, then he’s definitely not the right person to take care of the issue. Hence, the complaints need to be assigned correctly to the person best able to deal with it.
4. Hire Someone to Prioritize Complaints and Notify the Assignees
Have someone in place to prioritize these issues based on their severity and timeframe. The person should take care of notifying the assignees about the unresolved complaints at appropriate times. For instance, theft reports from one of the employees would be more critical than a complaint regarding the quality of the coffee. This ensures an effective and timely resolution of all the tickets in due time.
5. Set up a System
Have a system in place to collect and document all the grievances and complaints to process them for further analysis and resolution. Without proper records and documentation, the whole process would fall out of grasps. Create a proper portal for employees to report their grievances with ease. It can be done through a website form, a suggestion box or a complaint management specialist. Also, make the process completely secure and anonymous for greater interest and security from an employee perspective.
6. Training Your Workforce
Train the management for proper documentation and resolution for all the complaints. Make sure that they receive the proper instructions and understand the sensitive nature of the process so that no mistakes are made. Train your staff on how to properly file a complaint and make sure they understand the relevance of these efforts. You can also employ third party services for the training and management of your staff that specializes in the category.
An Alternative Approach
All these measures might seem a bit difficult to adapt, but they are extremely important in order to keep your staff safe and happy. Although, there’s an excellent solution to these problems for businesses who cannot afford to hire specialists and employ third-party organizations. The solution that will take care of categorizing, assigning, prioritizing, notifying and providing a secure and anonymous trustworthy channel for your employees to report their sensitive problems.
The name of that solution is YourSafeHub.
YourSafeHub is an anonymous reporting channel where employees can report sensitive problems in the workplace, such as bullying and harassment. It gives the company a means to listen, manage and respond to these complaints. Making your workplace comfortable and your employees happy, YourSafeHub results in increased morale, enhanced productivity and decreased turnover. The most prominent features include:
- Your own personal subdomain, so that employees know whom they are reporting to. Every aspect of YourSafeHub is customizable for your organization's need.
- Built with security first. Every complaint is stored with proper access controls including attachments. All records, conversations, and actions are stored permanently.
- Indelible records with a complete case history that cannot be modified or deleted. YourSafeHub tracks every action automatically. The records are non-editable even for administrators.
- Organize your instance in categories and subcategories with relevant questions. YourSafeHub has automated sorting and prioritization of more pressing issues at first based on a proprietary algorithm for optimum results. Case status automatically adjusts based on response.
- Invite multiple reviewers and program administrators. All cases are automatically assigned based on predefined categories and respective reviewers for those categories.