Dealing with employee complaints must be something you do regularly as an HR professional. Employees that are unhappy with their jobs or the management may have legitimate grievances or occasionally just make them up.

It can impair staff morale, lead to inefficiencies, and raise absenteeism if it is not promptly remedied. In other words, how well you handle employee complaints may directly affect the productivity level at work.

What is Grievance Handling?

What is Grievance Handling_

A grievance handling is any unhappiness or sense of injustice related to one’s employment situation that is brought to management’s attention. A complaint, roughly speaking, is any form of dissatisfaction that negatively impacts productivity and organizational relations. Distinguishing between dissatisfaction, complaint, and grievance is required in order to comprehend what a grievance handling is.

  • Anything that makes a worker uneasy, whether or not they verbally express it, is cause for dissatisfaction.
  • A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction that is made verbally or in writing to the supervisor or shop steward.
  • A formal complaint made to a union official or a representative of management is referred to as a grievance.

In a nutshell, a grievance handling is a feeling of unhappiness that has anything to do with your employment condition and might be stated or unspoken, written or unwritten, and justified or unjustified.

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Roles in Grievance Handling

Roles in Grievance Handling

Employee‘s Role

  • Notifies his immediate superior of the grievance, emphasizing that this is the initial step. The complaint may be over his relationship with the supervisor, the terms of his employment, his income, or other issues.
  • The employee has the option of bringing the issue up to the Sectional/Departmental Manager if it is not handled at this level of authority.
  • At any time during the grievance process, the employee may request to be accompanied by a member of the workers’ committee.

Sectional Manager‘s Role

  • He or she sets up a meeting with the supervisor, the affected employee, and a representative from the human resources department if the grievance is still not resolved.
  • Ensures that no one in the room will be victimized for what they say or suffer social isolation or victimization at work. The importance of speaking openly and honestly about the facts of the situation is emphasized.
  • Resolves any inconsistencies in the information provided by the parties and summarises the key points and relevant facts.
  • The process of convincing the parties involved to come to an agreement, find a solution, or choose the course of action to be used to address the problem.

Manager’s Role

  • Maintains records of any grievances that have been settled or are in the process of being settled and states how well the grievance system is working.
  • Makes sure the grievance procedure is followed; He makes sure a fair analysis of the circumstance or case is done;
  • Guarantees a fair hearing for all parties;
  • Make certain that all the information is treated fairly.

Reasons for Grievances Handling

Reasons for Grievances Handling

 1. Economic:

Employees have the right to request specific wage modifications. They might believe that their pay is lower than that of others. For instance, unpaid overtime, late bonuses, modifications to overtime compensation, perceived treatment disparities, equal pay claims, and challenges to performance-related pay awards are some examples.

 2. Work environment:

It could be unfavorable or inadequate working circumstances. For instance, bad working physical circumstances such as light, heat, or space, as well as faulty tools and equipment, low-quality materials, unjust rules, and lack of recognition.

 3. Organizational change:

Grievances may arise as a result of any modification to organizational policies. For instance, putting new working procedures or updated corporate policies into effect.

 4. Supervision:

Concerns about the supervisor’s general techniques of supervision may be based on how the supervisor treats the employee, including any perceptions of bias, favoritism, nepotism, caste allegiances, and regional sentiments.

 5. Miscellaneous:

These could involve problems with promotions, safety procedures, transfers, disciplinary laws, fines, granting of leaves, access to medical services, etc.

 6. Personnel relations:

Employees have trouble adjusting to their coworkers, experience emotions of victimization and neglect, and find themselves the target of mockery and humiliation, among other inter-employee conflicts.

Effective Ways To Handle Employee Grievances:

Effective Ways To Handle Employee Grievances_

 1. Establish the system:

The first step is setting up a grievance handling redressal system for your businesses to make it easier for your employees to file complaints and grievances so you can address them. Here’s something you need to take into account:

The content of the employee handbook needs to include the grievance handling procedure so that everyone can quickly access it.

The burden for grievance receipts must fall to someone. The confidentiality of the employees’ complaints must be guaranteed. Usually, someone from the human resources division should do it.

The location where complaints are received must be accessible to all. In other words, it needs to be in the middle. If you utilize a grievance box, it needs to be in a place that is easy for everyone to reach.

Confidentiality must be prioritized when handling employee complaints because they may contain personal information. By involving the fewest amount of people possible, the problem is kept from spreading.

The filed complaints must be promptly investigated. In other words, no matter should be put on hold indefinitely. It should stick to a timetable so that you may anticipate a specific amount of responsiveness within a given time frame.

 2. Recognize the grievance:

When addressing employee complaints, it would be beneficial to listen more often than you speak. Listen to your staff members when they complain to you about a problem.

In order to let your employees know that their complaint has been received, even though it doesn’t necessarily indicate that you should handle it right away. Inform your staff that you have received their report and that you intend to take action.

 3. Investigate:

Not every topic warrants a hearing. In general, it is crucial to determine whether the complaint is legitimate. Ask questions about the events or circumstances and compile any relevant information. Even though it might not always be required, other employees who are involved in the situation must be told and given the ability to defend themselves and present any supporting documentation.

You can schedule a formal meeting after the investigation is over.

 4. Hold the official meeting:

All essential parties should be invited to the formal hearing, together with the grieving employee. The employee may present any supporting documentation for the claim and detail the desired course of action. You can distribute the meeting’s notes’ minutes afterward.

 5. Make a decision, then take appropriate action:

The decision-making stage is now. You should make a decision after gathering all the necessary data and carefully examining the circumstance.

You can choose to accept the complaint in full or in part, or you can reject it entirely. It would be beneficial to inform the employee in writing of the steps you intend to take. At the same time, you can provide the employee advice on how to handle similar circumstances.

 6. How to appeal:

Your employee has the right to appeal if they disagree with your judgment. Again, the details of the appeal procedure should be outlined in your grievance handling policy.

The process should begin with a letter of appeal from the employees explaining why they believe the decision should be reevaluated. The appeal should be considered by a different manager or supervisor who was not present at the initial meeting in order to maintain objectivity.

This should be followed by an appeal hearing with new evidence. The employee should receive written notice of the same decision. If your employee is still dissatisfied, you have two options: mediate the situation or take it to an employment tribunal.

 7. Review the circumstance:

It’s usually a good idea to review your choices with objectivity. You were successful in resolving the conflict if the employee was pleased with the outcome. In fact, it may have a big impact on the culture of your business.

It is possible to promote a sense of pride and accountability in the work of the employees if the prevailing policy ensures fairness. Implementing a prompt and efficient grievance handling procedure has this advantage.

 8. Eliminate the primary source of the issue:

Your goal is to pursue a durable solution. To put it another way, a formal complaint needs to be resolved once and for all. This stops your staff from returning again and time again with the same problem.

Here, determining the problem’s underlying cause is essential to finding a comprehensive solution that includes any necessary revisions.

Why is Employee Grievance Handling important?

Why is Employee Grievance Handling important_

Any sense of unease or unhappiness typically causes significant and measurable losses in staff morale, effectiveness, and production. Grievance handling typically result in unhappiness, irritation, and apathy toward work, which negatively impacts the organization’s interests.

Major issues, including work stoppages, strikes, lockouts, and other unforeseen eruptions that harm productivity over the long run, frequently arise when minor complaints mount up. Therefore, it becomes absolutely crucial to address the complaints as soon as they arise.

The Human Resource Manager has a big role in grievance redressal, and in order for him to succeed, he needs to be aware of the root causes of complaints and how to address them. His talent for observing people’s behaviors, attitudes, and habits may be quite helpful in identifying early signs of changes in people brought on by unspoken complaints. Surveys of attitudes can shed light on complaints that are actual or likely to exist and their effects on output.

The root reasons for employee unhappiness can be eliminated with the help of a thorough investigation of the nature and pattern of grievance handling. The HR manager must go more into the specifics of complaints and choose the best way to resolve them.

In the creation and execution of the policies, programs, and procedures for efficient grievance handling, he must assist the top management and line managers, in particular supervisors. The grievance redressal procedure generally refers to these policies, programs, and practices.

The necessity of resolving complaints is due to the fact that complaints can have a number of repercussions that are essentially negative and harmful to corporate goals. These negative consequences include, as we’ve seen, indiscipline, unrest, low productivity, poor production quality, increase in waste and costs, increase in employee turnover, increase in absenteeism, increase in accident-proneness, loss of interest in work, and ultimately lack of morale and commitment.

Therefore, in order to maintain peace and create fruitful outcomes within the company, management must be vigilant about warning indications and symptoms of employee unhappiness.

The following would be the significance of good grievance handling if managed or handled properly:

  • Employees should be relieved of any mental discomfort or suffering.
  • The workplace is satisfying to the employees.
  • Encourage employees to be interested in their work.
  • Develops a sense of affiliation or belonging.
  • At work, employees start working together.
  • Avoid many industrial labor issues.


A grievance handling procedure must be run effectively in order to maintain enough records, experience, and equitable treatment for all parties.

However, there may be some rare situations when the aforementioned procedure has to be improved. When necessary and appropriate, the Human Resource Department reserves the right to modify the same.

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