How to Effectively Manage an Informal Grievance
What is a grievance? If an employee has a concern, problem, or issue at work, they can address this by raising a grievance. Grievances can be raised formally or informally. The most common examples of employee grievances include pay and…
Blog21st Sep 2023
What is a grievance?
If an employee has a concern, problem, or issue at work, they can address this by raising a grievance. Grievances can be raised formally or informally. The most common examples of employee grievances include pay and benefits, bullying, and work conditions.
If an employee raises a formal grievance, it is important to follow the formal grievance procedure outlined in your Employee Handbook. Grievance procedures should provide individuals with a course of action if they have a complaint which they’re unable to resolve informally and provide points of contact and timescales to resolve issues of concern. Having a grievance procedure is important for resolving matters internally without recourse to an employment tribunal.
Many problems at work can be resolved informally. Depending on the situation, an employer should encourage individuals to discuss differences informally with their line manager, so that concerns can be heard and responded to as soon as possible. An employee could raise a problem informally by telling their line manager or someone else at work, for example, another manager or someone in HR. It does not have to be in writing at this stage.
Tips for handling informal grievances
- Take it seriously – this can help to keep a good working relationship with the employee and avoid a formal grievance procedure. When an issue has been raised, it is important to deal with it as soon as is reasonably practicable. It is a good idea to set up an informal chat to allow the employee to discuss their concerns in the first instance. Where possible, it is best to do this face-to-face.
- Companion – agree to any request from the employee to be accompanied to the meeting, this could be a colleague or a trade union representative.
- Have two-way conversation – let the employee explain the problem and any solution, for example asking the employee what they would like done about it, as well as ensuring the employee listens to what you have to say.
- Keep a record – even though you are dealing with the issue informally, it is important to keep a record of how the issue was dealt with. This should include information about the nature of the issue, what action was taken, what was discussed during any informal meetings, any agreed future actions and the reason for these
- Follow up – It is important to follow up after the initial informal chat, to check in with the employee on any agreed actions and confirm if the matter has now been resolved for them. If it hasn’t been resolved, you may need to set up additional informal discussions to find out if there is anything else that will help resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved informally, it will likely be appropriate for the employee to submit a formal grievance.
Mediation can be used at any stage of the procedure as long as both sides agree to enter into mediation. Mediation involves an independent, impartial person helping both sides to find a solution. The mediator can be someone from inside or outside your organisation.
If we can support you through an informal grievance or if you have any other queries about effectively managing your people please do not hesitate to get in contact with or a member of our HR & Employment Law Team.