If Your Employee Is Complaining… Is It A ‘Formal Complaint’?

15th May 2018

If Your Employee Is Complaining… Is It A ‘Formal Complaint’?

No employer wants their employees to be unhappy at work. After all, a happy employee is a more productive employee. But we’re all human, and even generally contented employees will occasionally moan and grumble. But is it just letting off steam, or an actual complaint?

Employers need to be alert to any possible complaint from their staff. Even if it is just a moan. If the employee’s concerns are not heard or dealt with they can quickly blow up into something bigger. The last thing you want as an employer is for a minor grumble to escalate because it was not acknowledged or acted on, and the employee walking out and claiming constructive dismissal.

You have to know your employees fairly well. Can you assess whether a comment from one person is just a gripe, whereas the same comment from another is more serious?

How would you react to overhearing these comments?

  • “We’re out of teabags – again!”
  • “It’s so cold in here – I can’t work in these conditions!”
  • “Not promoted? So my face doesn’t fit, then?”

Does it depend who it comes from, or how it is said?

Complaints will not necessarily be expressed formally. While a complaint might be made in an annual review, it could equally be made in passing in the car park. It might be made verbally, or by text or email. Or even on a post-it note stuck to your computer.

Next up: How to deal with employee complaints without ending up in an Employment Tribunal.

Notes

For further information on employment problems, click here.