The purpose of grievances is to resolve a dispute or difference of opinion between an employer and an employee. If a grievance is raised, it can be a difficult time for all people involved, but the way in which it is handled can have an enormous impact on the outcome for all parties.
Today, Jersey-based people and HR services specialist People.je, explores how your company can set up an effective Grievance Procedure, so that positive outcomes can be found for everyone involved.
It is undeniable that employees file grievances with their employers when they are unhappy about something, but how these grievances are responded to can be a sign of a healthy, proactive and caring organisation.
There are often only negative connotations around the idea of an employee instigating a grievance – that the organisation has failed to maintain a happy culture; that the employee doesn’t feel like they have been treated fairly. But actually, this is a far too simplistic view – the grievance procedure provides an essential outlet for tensions and dissatisfactions in the workplace, which if not addressed can grow to the point that they manifest in far more disruptive and costly ways. The filing of a grievance also shows that employees are confident enough in the system that they will have their concerns listened to and responded to.
What is the effect of well-run grievances on company culture and well-being?
Well-run grievances can have a positive effect on a company’s culture and wellbeing. Addressing grievances quickly and professionally can help to create a respectful and supportive work environment.
Employees are more likely to feel valued and respected when their concerns are taken seriously, and this can lead to improved morale and productivity.
Employees are more likely to feel valued and respected when their concerns are taken seriously, and this can lead to improved morale and productivity. A well managed grievance procedure can also avoid negative publicity for a company (which could lead, in turn, to difficulties in recruiting and retaining quality employees.)
Additionally, addressing grievances in a timely manner can help to avoid costly legal disputes.
Recent developments in managing employee grievances include:
- the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation and arbitration. This method helps settle disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner
- technology is also being used to help manage grievances as some companies are using online forms or chatbots to facilitate the grievance process
- employers are increasingly using data and analytics to identify potential issues before they become major problems. By using analytics to monitor employee sentiment, employers can proactively address grievances and avoid potential legal disputes
Where to start?
To help you keep it legal and avoid the risk of employment litigation, People.je, suggest these Grievance procedure guidelines:
- Draft a grievance policy that outlines the process for: filing a complaint, investigating the complaint, identifying potential outcomes. You may need some specialists help to get this right.
- Respond to all grievances promptly and professionally, people need to feel heard.
- Investigate all grievances thoroughly and objectively. For sensitive cases you can engage a professional investigator, but this is not essential for day-to-day complaints.
- Consider using alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. There are some excellent mediation services available for workplace conflict.
- Use data and analytics to identify potential issues before they become major problems.
- Ensure that all parties involved in the grievance process are aware of their rights and responsibilities. Your policy will be useful in setting this out, but it is worth reminding all the parties to a case.
- Make sure all grievances are handled consistently and fairly.
- Maintain a safe and respectful work environment to prevent future grievances from occurring.
If you need help with a Grievance policy or process – contact People.je to discuss how they can help with your people challenges.