As all of us know and completely understand, the workplace is not just an area where professional projects are executed – it is also a social place, a place where people talk, where we get to know each other personally, and so on (even though management tries to place strict rules to prevent problems). It’s human nature to take the company as part of our lives.
It also means that we have to deal with transgressions and complaints of various topics in the workplace, and this often becomes more complicated than we think. For management and the HR team, this is not an easy task, and such an issue can become a real delicate conundrum if not handled appropriately. Here’s how best to approach an employee complaint or issue in the workplace.
The most serious mistakes
The company can make a lot of mistakes – but here are just some of the most common ones:
Making jokes or making fun of the incident
Taking sides or rushing to judgment
Using social media or other informal platforms to discuss the issue
Ignoring the complainer or otherwise showing a certain disrespect to the complainer
Don’t make it worse
It’s normal for management to jump to conclusions – after all, they are under a lot of stress and don’t need more problems. However, it’s important for management to retreat immediately and come up with a solution that will put a stop to all problems and take time to consider the issue in a serious manner, without anybody experiencing any retaliatory or negative consequences. Retreat and formulate a plan to get to the bottom of it. Reassure all parties that the matter will be resolved soon in an appropriate manner.
Try to understand
When talking to complainants, the alleged accused, or witnesses, try to understand. Avoid interruptions and focus on the issues at hand. To make it easier, have the interview recorded and then have it transcribed by good transcription services so you will have a written reference.
Slow it down
Take time. Everyone’s busy, but it’s crucial to set time apart to deal with the issue. Never rush it.
Whilst it’s important to put time aside to deal with the matter, never delay the investigation. Moving too quickly is not appropriate, but neither is delaying. Take your time to decide, but act decisively.
The most important thing is to have a proper procedure in place – a procedure that brings the issue to people who are unbiased, who are not part of the operation or department the person is working in, and who can instigate measures that ensure protection of all sides concerned as well as make decisions on the appropriate actions to take. It requires respect for people, respect for procedure, and respect for the truth. It requires level-headedness. It’s a job for those who can handle stress.
Image attributed to Pixabay.com