Grievance refers to the employee's dissatisfaction with company's work policy and conditions because of an alleged violation of law. They may or may not be justified and usually represent the gap between what the employee expects and gets from the company.
Grievence has to be properly addressed because it lowers the motivation and performance of the employee and affects the work environment.
Grievances are inevitable in an organisation. And important too. They are a part and parcel of any organisation’s administrative machinery. Employees can have grievances with each other, with their managers or even clients. A grievance redressal mechanism is important for tracking the number and frequency of grievances which signify the efficiency of an organisation. The better it is run, the lesser will be that number. Redressing a grievance effectively and swiftly ensures a high level of trust towards the company and employees feel heard.
A virtual help desk that is managed by the HR department is a great way to redress employee grievances.
According to the Communication Workers America, there are three types of grievances, that are largely applicable to organisations across the globe. They are:
When an individual employee grieves against a management action like demotion based on bias, non payment of salary, workplace harassment etc.
This type of grievance is when a team or a group collectively grieves against the management for example when none of the team members receive the promised overtime bonus as mentioned in the policy.
This is rare, especially in a corporate setup where unions don't often exist. But in this type of a grievance, the entire union complains against the management generally over contract misinterpretation.
One of the most common examples of workplace grievance is sanitation and cleanliness. Employees often complain of eating areas and bathrooms not being cleaned properly after use. This is an example of a grievance. Or another example is where an employee has claimed cab reimbursement but hasn't been reimbursed accurately or timely.
There could be various causes for employees to register grievances. They are:
An intelligent HRMS should be able to categorise the causes of grievances for swift redressal by the concerned departments.
Grievance handling is the management and redressal of grievances by the HR department. It is one of the responsibilities of the department to set up a formal process to redress employee grievances. In most large enterprises, an agile and intuitive HR Tech enables this process through a virtual help desk and assists HRs in swift redressals.
There are multiple ways in which HRs can gather employee grievances.
Most good HRs have a knack for catching the pulse of employees. Just by keenly observing their talent and keeping a close, empathetic ear to how they are feeling everyday, they are able to ascertain if someone is going through a tough time whether at work or home. Moreover, with the help of pulse surveys enabled by their HRMS, HRs are able to keep track of their employee sentiments to foresee any grievances.
By setting up virtual help desks through a smart HR tech, cloud-based solution, HRs can identify employee grievances and categorise them into various buckets for swift redressal.
It is important for employees to feel heard and they should have non-judgmental talking spaces within the organisation to openly discuss their issues. Enterprises need to build a culture of empathy to enable employee expression and this can be furthered by the HR department by keeping an open door policy where an employee of the lowest bands and grades have access to the CXOs to raise their grievances.
These are another way to identify grievances. When an employee leaves the organisation, they are often able to openly express things that they were hesitant to while employed. Well conducted exit interviews can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation that can help HRs resolve any future grievances in advance.
A grievance description or a grievance letter must have the following attributes:
While the terms grievance and complaint are used interchangeably, they are marginally different from each other. While a complaint is usually informal and is generally accusational in nature, a grievance is a formal complaint raised by an employee to the concerned authorities, often in a written format. While complaints tend to be coloured with emotions and not always based on facts, grievances are more objective and are based on facts that made the employee feel uncomfortable about something at work.
Disconcerted employees can pull down the productivity of an organisation. Hence, it is important for HRs to build a system of hearing and redressing employee grievances. It can be done through the following simple steps: