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Identification of Grievance and Grievance Procedure

written by: Ramachandran V•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 11/5/2010

An employee or an organization may have certain grievances against the management. The grievance should be identified at the earliest point in time and steps initiated to redress the grievance.

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    Identification of Grievances and Their Redress

    Man by nature is a temperamental and emotional creature—gets upset, dissatisfied and quite often complains. The complaint can be trivial or of a serious type. It is the duty of the management of an organization to find an amicable solution to the grievance of an employee through the grievance procedure.

    Introduction

    Grievance, complaint, dissatisfaction, and discontentment—all these words have almost identical and similar meanings. Naturally a question arises. What is then a grievance?

    According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), “Complaints affecting one or more individual worker in respect to his wage payments, overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, seniority, work assignment and discharge" would constitute a grievance. Where the points of dispute are of general applicability or of considerable magnitude, they will fall outside the scope of this procedure."

    When people interact among each other or among themselves, at some point or the other, due to different reasons, a feeling of discontent or dissatisfaction may arise which may subsequently transform into a complaint and then to a grievance. In a factory an employee may have certain complaints against the management and the management may have complaints against their employee.

    Causes of Grievances

    There can be various reasons for the grievances in an organization. It can be at the top level, middle or at the bottom level. The main factors responsible for the grievance are -

    Wages, Working Conditions, Management Policies, Supervisors’ Role, Maladjustment of Employee.

    Wages:

    - Wage rates and method of payment

    - Overtime and incentive schemes

    Working Conditions:

    - Poor physical conditions at the spot

    - Non availability of proper tools

    - Unplanned changes in work schedule

    Management Polices:

    - Lack of career opportunities

    - Hostility towards trade union activities

    - Improper implementation of agreements and awards

    Supervisors’ Role:

    - Unclear and vague job instructions

    - Poor supervisory styles

    - Unhealthy relationship among employees and supervisor

    - Lack of effective feedback

    Maladjustment of the Employee:

    - Improper attitudes towards work

    - Lack of interest

    - Lack of cordial relationship with colleagues

    Identification of Grievances

    Don't Let the Sun Set On the Grievance A grievance should be redressed as soon as possible, so don't let the sun go down before identifying an employee's grievance. The methods usually adopted for identifying grievances are: Open-door policy, Opinion Surveys, Gripe Box System and Exit Interview.

    Open-door Policy:

    In this method, employees are requested to submit their grievances to their superiors and the problems are discussed and sorted out.

    Opinion Surveys:

    In this method, the employees express their grievances to persons who are not their superiors. The identity of the employee is not disclosed.

    Gripe Box System:

    The employees can drop their complaints in the complaint box. The employee need not disclose his identity if he so desires.

    Exit Interview:

    An employee may leave an organization due to dissatisfaction or on getting better employment. The information collected in an exit interview will be more reliable as the employee can express his opinion more freely and frankly which normally an employee may not do.

    Grievance Procedure

    The grievance procedure is a method of settling the grievance. The steps involved in a grievance procedure are:

    1. Submission of grievance to the immediate supervisor.
    2. The grievance is discussed and a solution suggested.
    3. If the employee is not satisfied, then the matter is referred to a committee consisting of members from the management and union. The committee deliberates upon the issue and recommends suitable action.
    4. If the grievance is not redressed at the committee level, then the case is referred for arbitration.
    5. This is the final step. The arbitrator deliberates upon the grievance and gives his decision. The decision of the arbitrator is final and binding on both the parties.

    References:

    1. Human Resource Management, L M Prasad, Sultan Chand and Sons, New Delhi, 2010

    2. www.ilofip.org/GPGS/grievanceprocedures.pdf

    3. www.management-hub.com/hr-grievance.html

    Image courtesy: clarita/ www.morguefile.com