Managing grievances in your business

This month we’ve had to manage a grievance on behalf of a client.

It is of the utmost importance that grievances, whether they be verbal or in writing, are dealt with as soon as possible. An early resolution is the objective, avoiding a lengthy situation that could end in a costly tribunal. Addressing the grievance swiftly and in accordance with the correct procedure will reduce the stress for all parties concerned.

A Grievance Procedure is a legal requirement

It is a legal requirement that all businesses have a grievance procedure, this ensures that all employees are treated fairly. Should the dispute go to tribunal the employer will able to demonstrate that the correct procedure has been followed.

If an employee states they are resigning because of something negative, then this should also be followed up formally following the grievance procedure.

Handling grievances

The company hand book, that all employees should have access to, will inform your employees of the formal route they can follow should they have a grievance. The grievance procedure will include:

1. All stages of the ACAS Code as well as other company procedures
2. Who to raise the complaint to and who can support them
3. The timescales for dealing with the complaint
4. The stages of the grievance procedure, for example how a complaint may be raised with the next level of management     if a satisfactory resolution isn’t reached
5. Your employee has the right to be accompanied to grievance hearings by a colleague.

We’ve already mentioned the importance of nipping the grievance in the bud, but which is the most appropriate approach; informal or formal? It this short ACAS video their advisor explains the options.

If it is the employer that has the grievance this is most likely to form part of a disciplinary process. Check out our article Disciplinary Procedure: What you should and shouldn’t do.

As in the case that we’ve been dealing with it’s often easier and swifter that an intermediary is involved in getting to the root of the issue. We can ensure the emotions do not get in the way of finding a swift solution as well as draw up a plan that is acceptable to both parties to monitor the situation over the coming months.

If a grievance procedure does not feature in your company handbook, please give us a call on 01737 336 336 or email so that we can provide you with the required documentation.

When to ask for HR help

How big does my business need to be before I think about HR matters?

We recently visited a rapidly growing company just taking on their sixth member of staff. The Managing Director had not experienced any problems to date, but he wanted peace of mind going forward.

This is a typical scenario. It’s possibly not until you’ve employed 3 or 4 people that you start to think that you should have some formal HR procedures in place.

If I’m asked ‘When do I need HR help?’ my answer would be “As soon as you employ one person”.

The reason for this is that every single employee should have a contract and terms and conditions of employment. In addition, there should be three or four basic HR policies in place. These would include disciplinary, absence, holiday and severe weather. There may be additional policies that are relevant to your industry or if for example you employ shift workers.

This may all sound overkill for one employee, but there are significant benefits for having your HR covered right from the beginning:

  • When employee two and three come along, everything is already in place
  • If for some reason there is an HR issue you are covered
  • You prevent any misunderstandings arising right from the start

In addition, if there are any awkward conversations you’d rather avoid, you have someone available to have them on your behalf.

Please do get in touch if you have been thinking that you ought to put your HR matters in order.