It is essential that when problems arise within a business they are dealt with quickly and efficiently before they have time to grow in to more serious issues. However, managers and employers are humans too and often feel some trepidation about wading in to the complex HR world. The important issue here is that early intervention can be the key to an easy remedy.
Grievances are often the early sign of problems which can go on to escalate. Grievances should never be ignored and should always be addressed properly under the company’s grievance procedure. If there is no grievance procedure in place, then this does not mean that grievances can be ignored. Court judgments have shown that there is an implied need to deal with a grievance even if there is no established contractual procedure. Importantly, managers should not be looking to discount the grievance based on their own personal view of the situation; even if the complaint seems petty and unsubstantiated it should be treated with the same seriousness that another one would in order to not alienate or dissatisfy the employee.
There is a substantial risk to not dealing with HR problems early as disgruntled employees can go on to bring tribunal claims, at a time and, sometimes significant, cost to the business. There are numerous different claims which can be presented at tribunal and, surprisingly, they can stem from the smallest incident such as a joke or a nickname. There is not just a financial cost which results from poor dealing with issues; leaving problems to fester can result in issues with recruitment, retention and performance. Employees who feel that their issues are not being dealt with appropriately are more likely to have lower engagement and lower productivity and their attitude is also likely to affect those around them, such as team members or managers.
Managers should be given training on how to deal with workplace issues so that they can go on to address these and rectify the situation. Similarly, it should be communicated with employees as to who they should bring issues or complaints to, including any set procedure or time limit for this to take place within.
The Peninsula Advice Service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to deal with any HR issue before it escalates. Call 0844 892 2772.