Unions know that employee dissatisfaction is a potential source of trouble, whether it is expressed or not. Hidden dissatisfaction grows and creates reactions that may be completely out of proportion to the original concerns. Therefore, it is important that dissatisfaction be given an outlet. A complaint, which is merely an indication of employee dissatisfaction that has not been submitted in writing, is one outlet. If the employee is represented by a union, and the employee says, “I should get raise in salary at the rate of impossible percent which is supported by union’s head,” and he/she submits it in writing, then that complaint is a grievance.
Let’s discuss Grievance management in private companies. A grievance is a complaint that has been put in writing and thus made formal. Management should be concerned with both complaints and grievances, because both may be important indicators of potential problems within the workforce. Without a grievance procedure, management may be unable to respond to employee concerns because managers are unaware of them. Therefore, a formal grievance procedure is a valuable communication tool for the organization.
The typical division of responsibilities lies between the HR unit and line managers for handling grievances. These responsibilities vary considerably from one organization to another, even between unionized firms. But the HR unit usually has more general responsibilities. Managers must accept the grievance procedure as a possible constraint on some of their decisions. Management should recognize that a grievance is a behavioral expression of some underlying problem. This statement does not mean that every grievance is a symptom of something radically wrong. Employees do file grievances over petty matters as well as over important concerns, and management must be able to differentiate between the two. However, to ignore a repeated problem by taking a legalistic approach to grievance resolution is to miss much of what the grievance procedure can do for management.
Grievance procedures are formal communications channels designed to settle a grievance as soon as possible after the problem arises. First-line supervisors are usually closest to a problem; however, the supervisor is concerned with many other matters besides one employee’s grievance, and may even be the subject of an employee’s grievance.
Steps in a grievance procedure
Grievance procedures can vary in the number of steps they include. A typical procedure, which includes the following steps:
1. The employee discusses the grievance with the union’s representative on the job and the supervisor.
2. The union’s representative discusses the grievance with the supervisor’s manager.
3. The union grievance committee discusses the grievance with appropriate company managers.
4. The representative of the national union discusses the grievance with designated company executives.
5. The final step may be to use an impartial third party for ultimate disposition of the grievance.
By Priti Shah
Laurent & Benon Management Consultants Ltd, a public limited company with its corporate office Gurgaon with Pan-India presence. We as an organization strive to offer the right Human Resource Solutions at the right time and enable our clients to enhance the net worth of their human resource capital.
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