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Follow these three basic principles so grievances don't create negative energy in your workplace

by , 19 November 2014
Grievances can easily get out of hand.

The recent scandal surrounding business man, Marcel Golding and Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) is proof of this.

In October, HCI suspended Golding as executive chairman for allegedly buying shares to the value of R24 million without the board's authority. Following his suspension, Golding went to the Labour Court to stop a disciplinary hearing into his alleged gross misconduct, but he was unsuccessful. He then resigned as Chairman of HCI and is now planning to pursue a constructive dismissal case against the company.

The saga has seen all parties involved making nasty accusations against each other in the media and has resulted in a number of key resignations.

And it just goes to show you must deal with grievances quickly. If you don't, grievances fester and create negative energy in the workplace. And this means productivity and your company's bottom line takes a knock.

Don't let this happen under your watch.

Use the following three basic principles around grievances, so they don't create negative energy in your workplace.

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Three basic principles around grievances you need to follow so grievances don't fester

According to the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management, the basic principles are that you must:
  1. Resolve grievances as close to the source of the problem as possible;
  1. Deal with them as quickly as possible; and
  1. Have clear guidelines on how to deal with them.

Underlying all of these is knowledge and communication. Your employees must know you have a grievance procedure and how to use it. Managers must also be clear on what to do when employees lodge a grievance.
When you allow employees to raise issues, you give them a voice so they can talk freely about things that make them unhappy enough to affect their work.
If you take their grievances seriously and resolve them quickly, they become much happier, relationships improve and everyone gets back to work and is productive again.
Now that you know about these basic elements, make sure your grievance procedure contains these eight elements.

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Make sure your grievance procedure contains these eight elements

  1. Your grievance procedure must encourage employees to lodge grievances as soon as the incident arises.
  1. It must have an exact description of what the employee may lodge. For example, it could state that employees can't lodge a grievance just because they're unhappy about disciplinary action against them.
  1. Include a statement that complaints should be lodged as close to the source as possible. Explain that failure to do so undermines the authority of your managers and leaves them severely disillusioned.
  1. Have clear-cut deadlines for the resolution of grievances.
  1. Ensure a hierarchy of reporting grievances so your employees can lodge complaints against their immediate line managers.
  1. Have clear forms, designed to facilitate proper lodging of grievances.
  1. Include a statement that the decision of the MD (the final step in lodging a complaint) is binding.
  1. Make sure you have ongoing training for both staff and managers around the grievance procedure.
When it comes to grievances, managementstudyguide.com shares our sentiments.
The site warns, 'unattended grievances result in frustration, dissatisfaction, low productivity, lack of interest in work and absenteeism.'
These are risks your company can't afford to take.

Now that you know the basic principles, take steps to resolve grievances so they don't create negative energy in your workplace.
PS: For more information on how to deal with workplace grievances, check out Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

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