Staff grievances: getting the investigation right

Pippa Bucknell, senior HR consultant at FitzgeraldHR
Pippa Bucknell, senior HR consultant at FitzgeraldHR

Pippa Bucknell, senior HR consultant at FitzgeraldHR, focuses on how to handle staff grievances

Case study: A member of staff has raised a grievance. What do we do?

The first question is: do you have a written grievance procedure?

Within the written statement of terms and conditions that an employer is required to give to an employee, it needs to be made clear how an employee can raise a grievance, should he or she wish to do so. By having a written procedure this makes it much easier to get the principles of good grievance management right. It also helps employees by making it clear what a grievance is and what will happen if a grievance is raised. It should be possible for most grievances to be dealt with informally by a line manager. However, for occasions where this is not possible, your grievance procedure should explain how an employee can raise a grievance formally.

Grievances can be very damaging, particularly if they’re handled badly. If everyone involved in the grievance is committed to achieving a solution, that is a huge advantage. Occasionally, however, an employee may raise a grievance against another employee and this type of situation can become emotional for both of them. A focused but understanding approach is best when dealing with these situations.

If one of your managers has excellent interpersonal skills, consider using him / her to investigate the grievance.

Read the full article in Business Action online.

• Pippa Bucknell is a Senior HR Consultant with FitzgeraldHR, a human resources outsourcing company that offers retained or ad hoc services to organisations in need of HR support.

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