Knock, knock!! Are you listening?

Employees are the competitive advantage on which every organization thrives. Employees are the sailors who sail the boat called organization, through highs and lows and ups and downs. But what happens when there is turbulence in employees’ work life – when they have grievances? Are we, the HR fraternity, really listening?

Working in multicultural, multilingual, shared responsibilities, flexi-timings and to top it the pressure to win environment, disagreements and unmatched expectations are no surprise. The disparity may happen between co-workers, employee and their manger or it can be a broader system concern.  If these concerns bother employee to the extent that he approaches the higher authority for help – it is called grievance.

Every organization has a well planned and systematic approach to tackle the grievances. Generally, the grievance redressal process is:

–          The aggrieved employee can reach out to the manager or the immediate supervisor either in person or in writing. This issue should be acknowledged by the manager or supervisor and a solution must be provided within 3 working days.

–          If the employee is not content with the decision made or doesn’t receive a reply, he can approach the Head of Department or Division. The department or division head should look into the matter and provide with a solution within 5 working days. There can be a delay in this step but reason for the same should be recorded.

–          If the distressed employee is still not satisfied with the decision, he can further move the ladder to put the issue in front of the grievance committee. The committee consists of General Manager of the area, HR head, HOD, a representative of union and any co-worker of aggrieved employee’s choice. This committee should provide with a solution within 15 working days. There might be delay in this process which should be recorded.  A unanimous decision must be reached at.

With few changes suiting our policy and procedure, our grievance redressal process looks similar. There is also a dedicated phone line for the ease of people to contact the right people for the assistance required.

But are these phones ringing? Are your employees reaching to you? Do they have so much of faith in you to reach you?

If the answers to these questions are NO, then set up your alarms.

We have seen in near past – how top talent drifted from Microsoft and other giants. More than 100 employees moved from Google to Facebook. Even today, the trend continues. If the employees are not happy with the company and they feel that their problems will not be taken care of, they don’t compromise with the situation, they find an alternative!

Apple, a Silicon Valley giant, is a dream destination for many tech-lovers. But the former and current employees don’t share the same opinion. What they shared via was that they have friction with the co-workers or with the middle management. They feel they are being paid less compared to the work they do. Even if the bell rings, there is no one to pick it up. And they feel that HR is of no use. Of course the top talent joins and exits with the same speed. Others stay but remain unhappy, unsatisfied and disgruntled.

Happy employees make more productive employees. Happy employees make loyal employees. Happy employees make a successful organization.

SAS Institute, among the topmost best companies to work, has successfully achieved it. A SAS employee refused a 40% hike in his salary by another Silicon Valley colossus because he was happy at SAS. Don’t all of us dream for such dedicated, content and wonderful employees in our organization? Or is it very tough to get such employees?

Well, it is very easy to have a blissful group. Listen to the knocks. Answer to them. Just – start communicating.

To start with, take out the grievance redressal process from policy book to the floor and inform all about it. Put posters, have small conferences, do e-mails. Use the new age mantra –blogs and discuss about the rules in open. Give employees an opportunity to understand that you are there to help.

If any grievance is reported, take interest in the informed issue. Be honest with the possible solutions. Be genuinely concerned about them as if they are your own. Help them to trust you. Encourage them to communicate freely. Get to the bottom of the matter. Seek help from your higher authority, if required. Be prompt. Be unambiguous.

Lastly, follow up with employees even after their concern is taken care of. Show them, you care. Communicate with them on a regular basis. Give them your time! Build up the trust! You are because they are. Be the people’s man or woman. Re-energize your employees to be the passionate activists. Make them your organization’s priced assets which they are! Transform your organization into a great place for great people to do great work!!


  1. Insightful.Grievance redressal process becomes more transparent, employee friendly if HR professionals follow whatever has been written in your post.

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