How To Deal With Employee Complaints

17th May 2018

How To Deal With Employee Complaints

It may seem counter-intuitive, but employers who develop a workplace culture which is positive to complaints and feedback from employees have fewer complaints in the long-run.

This is because if a minor grumble or concern can be raised and is dealt with quickly, it will be nipped in the bud before it becomes more significant. The chances are that if an employee has a complaint about workplace conditions or structures, then they are not the only one. Better to sort it out the first time you hear of the problem than wait till it becomes a ‘chorus of complaint’. Is there a suggestions box in your office’s kitchen or break-out area?

By contrast, a culture where raising concerns is frowned upon or – even worse – where employees are scared to make a complaint, can become toxic. Good employees get frustrated and leave, and you are more likely to end up in a Tribunal.
How should you deal with a complaint? The key thing is to be proactive. Take ownership of the situation. Talk to the employee about it, hear them out, and decide the best way of resolving the problem. Ask if they would like the matter treated as a ‘formal complaint’. Make a written record, and give the employee a copy. Above all, take positive action, quickly.

Most complaints can be dealt with and resolved informally by talking through the issues, with employer and employee reaching an agreed resolution. If not, and the employee wants to take matters further, then you may need to pass on your grievance procedure. (If you don’t have one, refer to the ACAS Code of Practice.)

I will shortly post a further article on how to manage a formal grievance.

Notes

For more information on employment problems, click here.