Characteristics of Good Grievance Redressal Procedure
A systematic grievance redressal procedure must have the following features:
- It should be simple, fair and easy to understand.
- It should be in writing.
- It should specify to whom employees may take a grievance in the first instance (normally their immediate boss), and that they have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union representative.
- It should encourage employees to put forth their grievances.
- It should state where, in the event of the grievance remaining unresolved, an employee should then address his complaint.
- It should specify time limits within which the aggrieved employee can expect to be notified of the outcome of his complaint.
- It should have regular meetings of the grievance committee; and a record of proceedings properly minute should be sent to all the parties.
- It should gain employee confidence.
- It should promote healthy relations between employee and the company.
- As in the case of disciplinary procedure, the spirit in which the implementation of this process is approached is extremely important; and equally important is the amount of time and effort, which management is prepared to devote to handle grievances systematically and effectively.
The details of grievance procedure and the numbers of steps in it may vary from organisation to organisation depending on its size and the number of employees. The procedure may have as few as two steps or as many as ten also. The grievance procedure may be of an open-door type or of a step-ladder-type. In the open-door approach, grievances can be taken up with senior management directly, rather than through the stages. This is useful if an employee thinks that his superior is treating him unfairly, or has made a wrong decision, or if he feels that the company is making a mistake over new policy or practice.
The grievance process has at least three purposes and consequences. First, by setting minor problems at an early stage, it may prevent major problems from occurring in the future. Second, a through grievance analysis serves as a source of data to focus attention of the two parties on ambiguities in the contract for negotiation at a future date. Lastly, the grievance process is an effective channel for upward communication.
Several times management is guilty errors in the processing of grievances. Some common errors are:
- Stopping too soon in the search of facts.
- Expressing a management opinion before all the pertinent facts have been discovered
- Failing to maintain proper records.
- Resorting to executive fiat instead of discussing the facts of employee grievance and attempting to change minds.
- Communicating the decisions to the grievant in an improper manner.
- Taking wrong or hasty decision, which the facts of the case do not justify.
- It is possible to avoid these errors can serve as a safety valve and help to preserve the type of relationship between management and employees required for harmony and productivity.
- Employee grievances are features that characterize any industrial sector. The overriding issue is how these grievances are addressed and resolved. It is important to understand that worker-employer relations are governed by the basic principles of rights and obligations. Adherence to these principles is a prerequisite for the prevalence of industrial peace, and for workers and the management to do their share in the spirit of peace and harmony. Obviously, for Industrial Peace it is best to adhere to the Law.