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The Caterer

How to avoid employee grievances

27 May 2010 by
How to avoid employee grievances

Grievances lodged by staff against their managers are on the rise as a result of tighter margins and fewer employees. That's the finding of a survey by rewards specialist IRS.

Perhaps the most striking fact is the high number of cases concerned with managerial relationships in the workplace. Poor working relationships between line managers and employees accounted for 77% of workplace disputes, according to the survey of 197 employers.

Meanwhile almost 40% of employers saw grievances about pay at least occasionally, with 32% experiencing issues relating to working hours, and 30% regarding non-pay terms and conditions. Instances of grievances about race (30%), sex (27%) and disability (27%) were also relatively common.

Age discrimination claims are also starting to appear more often, with 16% of companies now seeing them on an occasional or frequent basis.

Sean Wheeler, group director, people and development at Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin, has seen a rise in cases relating directly to line managers. "There really is no slack any more, so everyone has got to perform," he says. "Most companies have trimmed down their employee base, so everyone has to step up to the plate. Some are finding that really challenging."

SIX WAYS TO REDUCE THE RISK

There are six steps employers can take to reduce the chance of grievances from employees:

â- Introduce a culture where over-performance is recognised by line managers

â- Ensure line managers are trained to identify and handle possible grievances at an early stage

â- Hold regular, informal meetings with those showing signs of stress or harassment to ensure issues do not progress to grievances

â- Suggest mediation as a means of settling disputes ahead of a formal grievance

â- Assess softer skills in line manager appraisals and directly link these to pay where possible.

Source: Caterer‘s sister publication Personnel Today

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