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Your ability to effectively manage Grievance, can make you a star

In a workplace grievances must happen, your ability to effectively manage them makes you a STAR.

Employee grievance refers to the discontentment of an employee with the company and its management. Ideally, a grievance is recorded when an employee complaint is formally filed. However some employees may not come forward to formally file a grievance but they may be displaying attitudes that clearly shows there is an undisclosed grievance. This attitude / behavior may be affecting their productivity and the productivity of others.

The job of the HR professional is to have a one-one conversation with these people and find out what their grievances are, record / file it and find a solution for it using the document grievance management procedure of the company. 

Grievance procedures are processes established by employers to handle employee complaints or conflicts in the workplace

There are several Causes of Grievances, this includes:

  • Undesirable or unsatisfactory conditions of work.

  • Demands for individual wage adjustments

  • Disciplinary discharge or lay-off;

  • Transfer for another department or another shift;

  • Objections to the general methods of supervision;

  • Complaints about the incentive system;

  • Complaints about the job classifications;

  • Complaints against a colleagues attitude;

  • Complaints concerning disciplinary measures and procedures; Promotions;

  • The inadequacy of safety and health services/devices;

  • Non-availability of work tools and materials in time;

  • Violation of contracts relating to collective bargaining;

  • Improper job assignment

Most  causes of workplace grievance can be categorized under the following headings

  • Pay and benefits.

  • Bullying.

  • Work conditions.

  • Workload.

Let’s look at hope to effectively manage a grievance:

  1. Quick action- As soon as the grievance arises, it should be identified and resolved. Training must be given to the managers to effectively and timely manage a grievance. This will lower the detrimental effects of grievance on the employees and their performance.

  2. Acknowledging grievance– The manager must acknowledge the grievance put forward by the employee as manifestation of true and real feelings of the employees. Acknowledgement by the manager implies that the manager is eager to look into the complaint impartially and without any bias. This will create a conducive work environment with instances of grievance reduced.

  3. Gathering facts- The managers should gather appropriate and sufficient facts explaining the grievance’s nature.
    A record of such facts must be maintained so that these can be used in later stage of grievance redress. While not always necessary, you may need to take some time to investigate the complaint. In particular, if the issue involves other members of staff, they will need to be notified and given a chance to explain their positions or to give their own evidence. Once you’ve completed your investigations, you can arrange a grievance hearing. You’ll need to inform all relevant parties, so that they can make their own preparations. 

  4. Examining the causes of grievance– The actual cause of grievance should be identified. Accordingly remedial actions should be taken to prevent repetition of the grievance.

  5. Hold a grievance hearing: The next key action is to hold the formal meeting where the employee will set out their grievance and provide any evidence to back up their case. All parties should attend this grievance hearing. Employees have the right to bring along a colleague or union representative. The employee should also be invited to explain how they would like their issue to be resolved and what outcome they are seeking. You should arrange for formal notes to be taken at this meeting, which you can then circulate to all parties afterwards. 

  1. Decision- After identifying the causes of grievance, alternative course of actions should be thought of to manage the grievance. The effect of each course of action on the existing and future management policies and procedure should be analyzed and accordingly decision should be taken by the manager.

After making a decision, you need to identify the action that will be taken. Write to the employee, telling them what your decision is. Explain the reasons for your decision and advise them what actions you will take and what actions they should take. 

  1. Execution and review– The manager should execute the decision quickly, ignoring the fact that it may or may not hurt the employees concerned. Employees have the right to appeal that decision , which may lead to a panel sitting over it but the decision of the panel becomes final whether it suits either parties or not. After implementing the decision, a follow-up must be there to ensure that the grievance has been resolved completely and adequately.

An effective grievance procedure ensures an amiable work environment because it redresses the grievance to mutual satisfaction of both the employees and the managers. It also helps the management to frame policies and procedures acceptable to the employees. It becomes an effective medium for the employees to express t feelings, discontent and dissatisfaction openly and formally.

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