Understanding Employee Complaints

In business, the complaints you worry most about come from customers. However, there’s a group of vital people that you shouldn’t neglect: employees.  

Employee complaints happen at every organization. If they aren’t happening at yours, then there’s a chance that you don’t have a way to accept them.  

Learning about employee complaints doesn’t need to be an inherently negative experience. Complaints create opportunities for you to create a stronger company. Keep reading to learn how your organization can understand, anticipate, and handle employee complaints.  

Identify Potential Complaints  

What complaints are most likely to appear at your workplace?  

It sounds like a strange question, but it’s one every organization needs to understand.  

Typically, difficulties and grievances fall into one of these categories:  

  • Employment: issues with job duties, descriptions, or functions  
  • Terms of employment: salaries, allowances, benefits 
  • Conditions of work: healthy and safety, discrimination  
  • Non-employment: termination  

You can go through each category and identify the most likely sources of complaints about your company and then set up a procedure for accepting and dealing with them.   

Use a Formal Complaint Management Procedure  

When an employee wants to make a formal complaint, what do they do? And how do you follow it?  

Every organization needs a formal complaint management procedure. These procedures do more than track the escalation process. They also protect employees who are hesitant to report and ensure that all complaints get handled with care.  

Your employee complaint management procedure should include processes for:  

  • Receiving complaints  
  • Fact-finding  
  • Communication
  • Remedies and mediation 
  • Follow-up    

Focus on Transparency  

The reason employees don’t make complaints isn’t because they don’t care. They do. If you aren’t getting complaints, then it’s because they don’t believe anything will happen if they come forward.  

It’s essential to be transparent about the complaints process while also managing privacy expectations. Sharing the information directly and formally helps manage the office rumor mill and lets other employees know you take their issues seriously.  

It would help if you also shared resolutions as they happen. Give an update on the complaint itself and what remedy everyone agreed upon. Just make sure to remove any personal details.  

All Complaints Are Manageable  

Many organizations focus their energy solely on customer complaints. Yet, handling employee complaints is part of doing business. While complaints do expose weaknesses, they’re also opportunities to build a stronger company that better serves everyone.  

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