A grievance procedure certainly isn’t the most enjoyable duty among the responsibilities of the HR department, but it’s a necessary one, and it needs to be carried out with utmost care and caution. A successful grievance procedure allows the employer to prevent employee relationships breaking down and can even strengthen the morale of the staff.
But how do you start such a delicate process, and how do you guide it so it has the best possible result given the circumstances? Do you have a difficult duty ahead? Here’s all about preparing for a grievance hearing: what you need to know.
What to keep in mind
During a grievance procedure, emotions and stress can run high, so it’s important that the person in charge of the procedure is not emotionally involved and has no conflict of interest. Here are some basic factors to consider.
The basic steps
- Formal or informal? Sometimes it’s possible to settle issues in an informal way, which can result in a much better resolution. If not – or if there is any doubt – it’s best to resort to formal procedures.
- Following rules and guidelines. There are two main rules and guidelines to follow – and it’s crucial to do so. These are the company’s guidelines and policies, as well as the code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.
- Gathering evidence. As much evidence should be collected as possible before the grievance meeting. This evidence should be sent to the employee in advance of the grievance meeting.
- The meeting. The employee should be formally invited to the grievance hearing and reminded in the invitation that he or she has the right to be accompanied by a colleague or representative of the trade union.
- Notes or recording. Note-taking or recording is important to ensure that all details are well-understood and not forgotten, and can be accurately reported later on. For best results, have the recording transcribed by proper transcription services such as https://www.alphabetsecretarial.co.uk/. Understand, however, that the employee must give permission before any recording – video or audio – can take place. Start by asking the employee about the issue and how he or she thinks it can best be resolved.
- Consideration and decision. Take time to consider all the evidence first before deciding. Make a decision, then inform the employee in writing about the decision and why this was reached.
Because so much can depend on the conduct of those conducting the interviews, the way all evidence is gathered, and the execution of the various steps in the process, it’s important that care is taken and that employees are informed of their rights and are handled with respect. It’s about how the employee and the employer, and also possibly the staff of the company – and even people outside of it – will experience or perceive the matter.