Companies must always have a plan for managing grievances. It is usually only when employees feel as if they do not have any recourse that they begin to turn to confrontation or even litigation. As a manager, your demeanor plays a crucial role in whether you are able to deescalate a situation:
Listen to Your Employee
Even if you do not agree with an employee, be sure that you spend sufficient time simply listening to what your employee thinks. In many cases, employees simply need to vent and want to feel like they are heard. If you spend time listening, you can then brainstorm a solution. Oftentimes, the solution itself is not as important as listening.
If you aren’t entirely comfortable approaching it just yet, try contacting a company that can help you with grievance management for more information as you decide your next step.
Don’t Threaten Termination
Employees are less likely to express grievances if they feel that they might be terminated for doing so. While this might reduce the number of grievances in the short-term, when the employees feel that they are pushed too far, they are more likely to quit, get into confrontations with other employees or consider litigation.
By following the grievance procedure, the employee should be secure in knowing that he or she is not likely to be terminated. Also, consider that if you do terminate an employee due to a grievance, other employees will likely know and will be less likely to express concerns.
Have a Clear Process in Place
Having a process of issuing a grievance can make a company more efficient. Without a process in place, employees are likely to complain at inopportune moments, such as when you are busy closing a deal. By having a grievance process, the employee can file the grievance and then get back to work. You can then look into the concern during a period that you schedule specifically for this purpose.
You must not create an impression that grievances will not lead anywhere. It is unacceptable for an employee to file a grievance and not receive a response after a few months. If the process feels like a black hole for the employee, he or she is less likely to engage in the process. Follow up with the employee and consider having a face-to-face conversation about the issue to show that you are taking it seriously.
If you do discover that there is a legitimate grievance, not only must you address it, but you must make it obvious to the employee that the grievance was addressed. For example, if a bullying manager is sent to a training program, inform the employee of this. To address confidentiality concerns, be sure to consult with a lawyer to determine what you can and cannot say about your manager’s retraining.Read More