Complaints or grievances are concerns or problems that individual associates raise. A complaint might concern matters such as an individual’s work, physical working environment, pay and benefits, working hours, health and safety, working relationships or general treatment at work.
Dealing with Complaints
There is a formal channel at Huntswood to deal with complaints or grievances. In the first instance, complaints should be addressed wherever possible by the Team Leader. Details of the complaint and what steps have been taken, including any root cause analysis and what has been done to resolve the issue must be documented and emailed to the EM/SDM and email@example.com.
It is helpful if, as a manager, you try to view the raising of complaints constructively. If a complaint is raised, this provides an opportunity for the Team Leader/Operations Manager to resolve a workplace problem. Knowing about a problem is much better than remaining ignorant of the fact that an individual is unhappy or disgruntled about some aspect of his or her engagement.
Once you know that an individual has a complaint, you can discuss the matter with the individual, take on board the individual’s point of view and, if possible, provide a solution or part solution.
The Importance of Acting Promptly
If an individual raises a complaint, it will be important for you to deal with it promptly.
Dealing with complaints can be time consuming and not always easy, but any delay in tackling and resolving a complaint is likely to make matters worse.
An individual may be experiencing stress because of what he or she perceives as a problem at work. This in turn might disrupt working relationships. The existence of the issue is likely to have an escalating negative impact on the individual’s performance and productivity.
Resolving the Complaint
Once the complaint has been investigated informally, the individual should be given feedback on the outcome. Of course, it will not always be possible for a manager to resolve the complaint to the individual’s satisfaction, perhaps because giving the individual what he or she wants would breach company policy, cost too much money or be impracticable.
The feedback should consist of an explanation of what action has been taken or will be taken, or an explanation that no action can be taken, together with the reasons for this. This feedback should also be confirmed in writing.
It should be possible for most complaints to be dealt with informally, especially in relation to minor issues or concerns. However, where complaints cannot be resolved by a Team Leader/Operations Manager these should be escalated to the EM/SDM.
Where a complaint from an umbrella associate cannot be resolved informally on the engagement, they may be referred to their umbrella company who will have a process to deal with complaints.
Where a complaint from a PSC associate cannot be resolved informally on the engagement, there is a process to escalate this through Huntswood’s complaints procedure. In these circumstances, the individual should email the EM/SDM and firstname.lastname@example.org and an appropriate manager will be appointed to investigate the complaint.
When discussing a complaint with an individual:
- When meeting with the complainant, make sure that there will be no interruptions
- Make the effort to put the individual at ease
- Allow the individual to explain his or her complaint fully
- Distinguish between facts and opinions
- Avoid emotional reactions such as anger or impatience
- Ask open questions to fully understand the situation/complaint
- Fully document the discussion/complaint
- Summarise towards the end of the meeting in order to check understanding
- Interrupt the individual unless this is necessary to keep the discussion on track
- React negatively, for example by expressing criticism or disapproval
- Adopt a judgmental attitude
- Allow any personal like or dislike of the individual to influence your responses
- Make any decision about what to do about the complaint until all the facts have been voiced and, if necessary, investigated or checked