When employees have certain complaints or grievances, they can’t simply be dismissed – there’s too much that depends on whether the process is handled correctly and in the proper way. A grievance procedure in the workplace can often be conducted and brought to a conclusion to everyone’s satisfaction if all parties feel proper attention is given to the matter.
Are you faced with the unpleasant duty of conducting interviews and gathering evidence due to complaints of staff members or employees? Here’s how to properly deal with a grievance procedure in the workplace.
It’s important to start any procedure with a few simple steps in order to ensure the meeting or interview goes as smoothly as possible, for everybody’s protection and to ensure professional conduct from all parties. Start by introducing all people present and give a short explanation of why they are there and what their role is. If the employee is accompanied by a colleague or representative from the trade union, clarify his or her role. If the employee is not accompanied, confirm that he or she is aware of this statutory right, and that he or she has received a letter about the meeting.
Outline the formal procedure, and make sure the employee understands the purpose as well as the steps of the procedure. Explain that there will be note-taking, that these notes could be provided to the employee upon request after the meeting, and that he or she may have his or her own note-taking process. If you are planning to record, you should ask explicit permission to do so. This is where the services of a transcription firm such as https://www.alphabetsecretarial.co.uk/ become useful as well.
Invite the employee to explain his or her side of the issue, what happened, how this has affected him or her, and what he or she thinks should be done in order to have the issue resolved in the best possible way. Ensure that the panel can raise questions in order to clarify issues or misunderstandings. Be prepared to call in witnesses or present evidence.
After the meeting, see if it’s possible to conclude, or if more investigation is required. If it’s not possible to conclude, inform everyone of the reasons why and what steps should be taken later on. If it’s possible to conclude, explain to the employee the decision, or state that the decision will be sent to the employee within 7 days.
Respect for the employee and all others involved in the procedure is probably the most important issue; whilst the issues may be simple and quite straightforward, if anyone feels treated unfairly or the process was not conducted in the proper manner, doubt could be cast on the company or the HR department, and this could have far-ranging effects.