So you think yours is the ideal workplace for any working professional, right? Although you would like to believe that you have created a conducive environment for your employees wherein each one is leading an existence devoid of any challenges, think again. The need to implement mechanisms and policies, in an endeavour to address employee grievances.

It is a known fact that any organisation will have its share of issues and grievances put forth by its employees to address. No organisation can escape that. However, many organisations today are making serious efforts to ensure these employee grievances are dealt with tactfully. But, to what extent are the grievances addressed, remains to be different in every firm and depends on various factors.

Grievances and issues are a natural part and parcel of any organisation; which if not handled in a timely and appropriate manner, could lead to friction and internal turmoil. These issues range from extremely petty ones to serious problems that need immediate redressal. Some of the most common ones are clarity on salary slips, leave balance, etc. The grave ones usually deal with issues pertaining to the manager and more often than not, an ego-clash between two competitive parties.

The most frequent sources of grievances or issues brought up by employees include day-to-day issues w.r.t working hours, leaves, reimbursements, etc. Also, there are issues related to facilities available – security, pantry services, infrastructure, lighting, transport arrangements, etc. However, issues related to behavioural patterns of a colleague/supervisor and new/existing management policies or programmes play a vital role towards demotivating or disengaging employees.

Even though most companies have specific initiatives to address grievances of employees, it has been observed that many employees feel that their issues weren’t resolved. So, do organisations address employee grievances in a sincere manner? Or are these grievances just heard and then forgotten?

A grievance is a sign of discontent felt by the employee and there has to be a mechanism wherein the employee can express himself/herself freely and seek redressal. We, at Patni, have an employee connect initiative called ‘E Care’, which works as a single window helpdesk where employees can register their queries related to various aspects of work-life.

Organisations have their own mechanisms to address grievance areas; some are pro-active and others reactive. It is important for the organisation to have a clear grievance-addressing mechanism, which is thoughtfully prepared, communicated extensively and reviewed periodically. At DLF Pramerica Life Insurance, we have a variety of channels for employees to use, in case of a grievance – immediate supervisor, HR (we have HR managers located in regional offices who provide an easy access to employees), skip-level manager or the leadership team. At CBay, there is a well-defined grievance handling mechanism to address employee issues. There is a team at every CBay location, which takes a first look into every issue. In case, it can’t be tackled at that level, it escalates to the regional manager level, then corporate HR and finally to the VP, HR level. The corporate HR also has a grievance addressing team with dedicated personnel that addresses different kinds of grievances.

What kind of an approach should an employee harbour in case he/she is grappling with behavioural issues pertaining to a colleague or senior? “We always suggest our employees to adopt a more discussion-oriented approach, rather than an impulsive, reactionary one. Before they shoot out long complaining emails, they should always try and sort things out.

We would advise employees to voice their issues and seek help from their respective supervisor, mentor or HR as per the level of comfort they share with them. While doing so, if they objectively look at the issue, i.e. isolate the issue from the person, most often, they are likely to arrive at an unanimous solution on their own. I would advise them to look at each conflict situation as a learning opportunity.

It is only human for an employee to have issues at his/her place of work. If a behaviour-related issue arises, an employee should demonstrate the courage to have a direct discussion with the concerned person and communicate to the person how the employee is being impacted, with an objective of resolution.

In case the employee is not confident about having such a discussion, they should take their supervisor’s or HR manager’s assistance to build the ability to raise this issue appropriately. If the issue does not get resolved, the employee should use the grievance process to address the same. It is essential that the grievance is settled within a reasonable time limit since delay causes frustration.

Organisations, these days, have realised the need to address the grievances of their employees on a regular basis and to achieve just that, they have implemented a few mechanisms. After all, each employer wants a happy and an engaged workforce on board, right?

  • Navneet Mittal

    While indeed the system of the grievance expressing opportunity and its analysis functions in most of the organisations, what is most important for the employee is that the employee gets the genuine feeling of being HEARD. Even though the resolution may not be prompt, the employee should not get the feeling that this is all a sham. This the place where the LISTENING abilities of the respective HR team comes. These grievances are also an opportunity for the management to get an early warning of a possible simmering problem which can spiral out if not addressed effectively in time.