In this current time, managing workforce with an iron fist is no longer suitable and employees now demand for better treatment including the right to seek redress for their workplace issues. This development in turn, has given life to a guideline known as the grievance policy.
Grievance in general is a complaint made by an employee who seeks help for work or non-work related issues which may negatively affect his emotions, work performance and relationship at the workplace. Currently, many organisations have yet to implement such a policy as there are no legal requirements to do so. The only sight of it is in the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony and Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace as best practices.
This seemingly trivial policy offers quite the benefit to both employers and employees. The most beneficial of them all are speedy dispute resolution and protection against constructive dismissal claim. We can observe the Industrial Court’s stand on the matter when it often rejects claims of CD simply because claimants fail to utilise their company’s grievance policy before walking out of an employment. Companies too should treat grievances as a mean to discover problems hidden within the organisation and address them before they snowball into irreversible damage. Problems of turnover and misconducts such as falsified emergency and sick leaves due to workplace demotivation would surely reduce drastically when employees feel like they are heard and cared for.
In order for any type of policies to take effect, employees must first be aware of its existence. They should know the company’s grievance policy and procedures including how to lodge a complaint, the investigation process and ultimately how it will be resolved. Since grievance is not a creature of the law, it has no predetermined structure. Nevertheless, MECA would like to share this useful sample of grievance flow chart.
Despite the company’s willingness to implement their version of a grievance policy, they would still fail to achieve the desired aim if employees themselves are unwilling to utilise it. The usual concerns are possibilities of confidentiality breach and retaliation. As for the superiors tasked to handle grievances, are they well equipped with the needed skills to portray empathy, listen and mediate the issues? These are some of the issues that might need to be addressed once an employer decides to implement a grievance policy.
It’s to be noted that a grievance policy is a tool that is highly recommended to all employers. It is important to ensure your employees are cared for so the organisation will constantly be at its optimum productivity.