The Importance of a Structured Grievance Process

Posted on: 22nd May 2019 by: Dêmos HR Solutions

Why it's important to have a structured grievance process

As an employer, you’ll need to understand why it’s important to have a structured grievance process and how this will not only benefit your company but your employees too.

Having a reasonable grievance procedure in the workplace can encourage a thorough, speedy, and satisfactory resolution to any issues highlighted by an employee in the first instance, helping to avoid lengthy and costly potential tribunals. It should also help to protect the employee from receiving further punishment on appeal, promoting a healthy grievance culture so other individuals can understand the process, should they consider pursuing formal proceedings in future.    


What is the purpose of a grievance procedure?

A grievance is a formal complaint raised by an employee to address an issue with their employment situation. Grievances are usually raised in relation to issues affecting working relationships or productivity. Once a problem is highlighted, a formal grievance complaint should be directed to a member of management or union representative for their consideration and further investigation. Problems with wages, working conditions, supervision arrangements, changes to policies, and employee/team relations are some of the most common issues raised in grievance proceedings.  


The Three Key Steps of a Grievance Procedure

Once an issue has been identified, employees are advised to follow a procedure to escalate their complaint formally. There should be three key steps at the core of every grievance procedure including:

  • The employee must put their grievance in writing. The letter should detail their specific concerns which may include a description of the problems, examples of problems, and dates and times of any occurrences. 
  • Once the appropriate line manager has received the letter, they should arrange a timely meeting to discuss the issues raised. This may require further investigation and reporting on the problem to reach a satisfactory resolution.
  • If the outcome of the meeting or investigation does not meet employee expectations or approval, the employee should be given the opportunity to appeal the decision.


Why are grievance procedures important?

A grievance process is designed to give employees and employers a fair and objective system to raise and review serious issues and complaints without bias.

A formal grievance procedure should support employees to raise concerns relating to a safe working environment without the fear of any negative repercussions. The knowledge that any concerns will be taken seriously and handled fairly will help to bolster staff morale and maintain levels of productivity. A thorough process will help to protect employees from arbitrary decisions made by management.

Having a structured grievance process in place should help employers to identify any unacceptable or unlawful gaps in their current approach to grievances, working in line with employee contracts and helping to enforce the terms of company contracts.  Having an agreed and approved process will also help to protect the brand or company image by avoiding the ‘bad press’ associated with a mishandled grievance


At Dêmos HR Solutions, we can offer advice and support for all disciplinary and grievance issues, helping you to implement a user-friendly and lawful structured grievance policy and process of your own. Contact Debbie on 07974 695 365 or complete our enquiry form form to find out how you and your employees can benefit from our HR support.

Tags: Grievance, Disciplinary, HR, Tribunal,