How to Deal with Employee Complaints?

January 3, 201710:50 am1330 views

‘I need to talk to you.’ Upon hearing this expression, most people will agree that soon they will hear something has gone wrong. In the workplace, when an employee tells this to the HR, it means that they are going to talk about something serious, yet frequently neglected issues.

Every employer wants employees to be happy and satisfied with their jobs. However, keeping employees happy is not an easy task to accomplish. No matter how thoughtful you have been carrying out HR duties and functions effectively, people still complain over something least important or perhaps affecting them on an individual level .

Whether the complaint is related to co-workers, supervisor, management, working environment, or company policies, employees keep coming to the HR office to consult on such issues.

Complaint is a representation of one’s dissatisfaction and discontentment at work. In order to not prolong the problem, both employees and HR personnel should hold clear communication to find a solution to the problem.

See: Common Mistakes HR Managers Should Avoid

As a HR leader, it is part of your job to ensure that everyone’s grievances are taken care of, and forwarded to the related parties. Here are steps to handle employee complaints:

  • Complaint system

The problem with employee complaints is that most of them are subjective. There is no clear-cut way on the condition an employee should file complaint. Hence, from the very beginning, each company should have a formalised system that regulates – how, who, to whom, when, and where a complaint should be directed.

Managers need to decide on a method of how employees can send in their complaints and grievances, such as through face-to-face private meeting for urgent matters or complaint letter box that will be reviewed once a week.

Once the system is built, do not forget to include it in the company handbook such that everyone will acknowledge this feature and use it wisely.

  • Complaint category

The right follow-up measures to address employee complaints can only be taken, if the complaints are addressed to the right authority. While it is true that HRs cannot neglect employee complaints, you cannot solve them all at once either.

You need to sort out these complaints under several categories and prioritise which complaint should be followed up first. Categorise the complaints based on some basic conditions, such as work environments, management policies, rules, violations, or even interpersonal issues with co-workers.

If the complaints are related to something beyond your capability or power, assign someone more capable to handle it with your assistance.

  • Complaint review

Considering that everyone has their own opinion towards a particular issue, reviewing complaints is important to make sure that someone is not misusing this feature for their own interests. For example, if an employee reports complaint about his supervisor for observing favouritism during the last promotion, then do not blindly believe the complaint and admonish the stated supervisor.

Instead, perform little research and understand from both points of view, to see if the supervisor does play favourite or it is just common employee suspicion toward their boss. If you smell something fishy happening within the department, only then you can proceed to take further actions.

  • Complaint follow-up

When you have sufficient evidence that justifies the complaint, all you have to do is pursue the same with rigorous follow-ups. Ensure that complaints of employees are felt heard and counted. They should be rest-assured to wait for fair outcomes, judgments and improvements to the process, if any.

Read also: HR Challenge: Meeting Evaluation and Promotion Expectations of a Diverse Workforce

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