Handling Employee Grievances: Important Steps to Take


Running a business and managing a group of people will always entail problems and issues of varying degrees. Receiving complaints from your employees does not necessarily imply poor management on your behalf, but the way in which you respond to grievances will indeed say a lot about your skills in this department. 

Dealing with grievances can be tricky, and you want to avoid getting the law involved as far as possible. A Minnesota employment lawyer can help you to create effective systems within your workplace to correctly deal with problems and avoid elevated cases.  

Here are some important steps to take when dealing with employee grievances of any sort. 

Listen and Acknowledge 

It’s important that people feel heard, and as a manager or point of authority in your business, you need to provide that for your staff. 

Listening compassionately to their problem, letting them know that they are heard and understood, and acknowledging that there is an issue is an important first step in this process and can potentially quell ill feelings early on and prevent further backlash. 

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Investigate the Problem 

A simple “yes, I hear you” is usually not enough in these cases, however. When receiving a formal complaint from a staff member you are legally obligated to investigate and address the issue in a timely manner.  

Take all facts and documentation into account and address all involved parties and potential witnesses in order to get various accounts of the incident or specific issue. Gather as much information as you can, and focus on facts over emotional responses as far as possible. 

Get to the Root Cause 

Once you’ve identified the cause of the problem, it’s important that you address it at its core, rather than trying to treat the symptoms. This is the only way to ensure that you aren’t faced with repetitions of the same issue later on.  

Your decision needs to be one that has a lasting impact and should correlate with the severity of the issue. 

Make a Decision and Communicate 

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Discussing the issue with your Human Resources department is a great way to help you come to an appropriate decision. You could, again, consult a labour lawyer if you feel you need the assistance. 

However, once the decision has been made, it’s important that you are firm in your resolution and communicate this quickly and efficiently in order to resolve the issue. You can, of course, show empathy for offended parties, but be sure to present your conclusion as the final word, unless further issues present themselves, in which case you need to be open to hearing them. 

Follow Up 

If your decision is met with acceptance, the issue should hopefully be resolved. However, a good manager will make the effort to follow up on the issue with all involved parties shortly after. 

Find out if the problem really has been resolved, and if your employees are happy with the outcome. Showing consideration in this way can assist with employee retention and better productivity.