Whether it is an employee who doesn’t get along with a co-worker or a staff member who feels like he’s being taken advantage of by management, problems are bound to come up in any company. That’s why it’s important to understand how to handle employee complaints when they occur. Four of the most common types of grievances are harassment, discrimination, theft, and violence, which should all be addressed immediately to avoid legal issues.
Start by creating a complaint system. Whether it is an answering machine in the human resources department, a box in the break room, or a designated email address, the place to lodge complaints should be easily accessible by all employees. Assign a point person, such as a human resources manager, to check messages daily.
Once a complaint is received, go directly to the employee and ask questions to gain a greater understanding of the situation. Acknowledge the issue and ask the employee what they expect to happen. Many times employees simply want to vent and just need someone to listen. Different types of complaints require different approaches. For violence, you may need to involve the authorities, while some complaints require disciplinary action. Plan ahead and have detailed consequences for a variety of problems to ensure all employees understand the consequences of workplace conflicts. Also, it’s important to create an open-door policy so individuals aren’t afraid to come to you. The sooner you know about an issue, the quicker it can be resolved and the less likely it is to affect your business.