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Are you building effective relationships with your people? Are you the “go to” person when they have a grievance or an issue at work? Managers and HR people need to be attentive to what’s happening in the workplace. Are you visible? Do you “walk the floor”? As a Line Manager I’m sure you’d rather a grievance issue was brought to you first for resolution so what can you do to support that aim?

What you can do today

  • Be visible – be someone who is seen around the office or workshop. Someone who stops to talk to people.
  • Be aware – Notice what’s going on. Pick up on the atmosphere, Listen to what’s said and what’s not being said.
  • Talk to you people – Get to know them and let them get to know you.

This will all help to build trust and empathy with your staff so that they will feel comfortable raising issues directly with you.

“Can I have a word please?”

When a staff member brings an issue to you it’s important to make time to see them and to listen to what they have to say. In many cases this will be sufficient. Sometimes people just want to talk an issue through.

If you can’t see them straight away, fix an appointment with them later in the day, within 24 hours or make arrangements for them to see someone else. That person should be somebody who can make an immediate step towards resolving the issue.

Listen carefully to what is said. Ask questions to check understanding. Make sure that you understand

  • What the issue is
  • When it happened
  • Who was involved
  • Who were witnesses
  • What they are looking for as an outcome

Make notes of the conversation and share these with the individual so they can check that you have the situation clearly understood. If you can, make a start on resolving the issue. This will demonstrate that you are taking the matter seriously and have their well-being at heart. If you can resolve the matter, follow up with the individual to make sure that the solution really works.

What do I do if it’s a serious complaint?

Check your grievance policy and with your HR team on the next steps. Conduct an investigation. Ideally get a manager not connected with the team who can be objective. This usually involves reviewing the issue and identifying who they need to see to get the full facts of the events. These will be witnesses and the alleged perpetrator. It’s advisable to let them all be accompanied at the meeting by a workplace colleague. If the issue could lead to disciplinary action it’s advisable to be accompanied by a HR team member if only to take notes.

Review the evidence and outcomes of the investigation and decide on next steps. Keep the employee who made the complaint informed on progress. See the complaint through to resolution.

Finally contact me to find out how I can help you to deal with a grievance by conducting an independent investigation.

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