G is for...


G is for... 

I genuinely believe most gripes within the workplace can be sorted out informally. Whilst you might like to bang heads together and tell people to stop acting like children, the better approach is to try and talk things through over a cuppa.


However, when this doesn’t work or things are more serious, then the grievance procedure comes into play.


Another one of ACAS’ codes of conduct, it needs to be taken seriously and followed to show that you have acted as a fair and reasonable employer.


The ideal scenario with a grievance is some sort of win/win outcome for both parties as my experience is that one side always ends up feeling let down or deflated at the end of the process. This is therefore why it is important to manage grievances carefully and not ignore them otherwise they have the potential to escalate.


If you can’t resolve things informally, the starting point is to ask the employee what outcome they want – what are they hoping will change? You need to ask the right questions as this may not always be obvious.

Usually the response is because I want them to stop doing x, y, z.


The employee now needs to set out their grievance in writing and this would usually go to their manager. If it is about their manager, then the grievance should go to their line manager’s manager, another senior manager or HR.


Facts, facts, facts – this is the next stage. Start the investigation. Meet with the employee (remember they can be accompanied) and get all the details, work out if you need to speak to any witnesses and gather all the facts, supporting documents and any evidence.


Keep records – document meetings, send out meeting invitations, follow up with emails/letters.


Communicate – make sure the employee understands the process, keep them up to speed and try and get it concluded as quickly as possible. This shouldn’t drag on for months and should be a priority.


As I mentioned above, grievances can sometimes feel like a bit of a let-down. Therefore, be prepared for an appeal. Ideally this should go to a more senior manager or someone who hasn’t been involved in the process.


Unresolved grievances can have a huge impact on the productivity of a business and shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. It can involve some tricky conversations but try and deal with the grievance objectively and swiftly.


If you would like any support then contact me today or have a look at my grievance toolkit.

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