COMPANY CULTURE / JUL. 19, 2013
version 2, draft 2

Procedure for Voicing Your Grievances

The nature of any workplace is that occasionally complaints and disputes will arise and employees will become dissatisfied with a situation. In order to address, it is important to follow a procedure for voicing your grievances. Although every company has a different grievance procedure (which is usually stipulated within an HR manual), it is generally important to follow a number of stages.

How to Voice a Grievance

Voicing grievances can be a difficult and nerve-wracking experience particularly if you are making a complaint regarding your working environment. Once an issue has been identified, once of the first important stages is to verbally address it with the HR department or with your line manager.

The first step in voicing a grievance is to practice the conversation first. Ask a friend or relative to talk the discussion through with you so that you can ensure that you have practiced, and to enable you to hear how your grievances sound when spoken aloud.

When voicing grievances it is essential to first express them in person. This will give your manager the opportunity to assess your body language and get a broader understanding of the issues being addressed. This will also enhance the earnestness of the discussion and will enable the grievance to be taken seriously. Do not send an email or discuss the grievances on the telephone. This will only reduce the seriousness of the point you are trying to get across and your boss may postpone the grievance meeting, which will only make matters worse.

Have in mind precisely what you wish to say and do not allow yourself to get defensive during the conversation. Keep it strictly professional and do not veer from the point. Your supervisor/manager has the responsibility to fully investigate the issue that you have addressed and will guide you on the next steps to be taken. This usually involves implementing a series of steps to be taken to achieve a resolution before taking matters further. At this stage, usually a specified period of time will be placed on the voiced grievance.

Once the grievance has been voiced verbally, the timeframe has been met and nothing has been resolved, then the individual will be required to submit a formal complaint (or arbitration) to a neutral third party. This will involve outlining the exact reasons why the grievance is being voiced in the first place, and the previous steps that have already been taken to resolve the problem.  All facts in light of the dispute will be examined and it is important that employees are kept abreast of the situation by being provided with sufficient and ongoing information.

Having a correct grievance procedure offers a more stable working environment and greater democracy in the workplace. Without a grievance process in place, it is easier for workplace disputes to escalate unnecessarily and for employees to feel helpless. 

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