Effects of Employee Grievance21st October 2020
Grievances, if not identified and redressed, may adversely affect workers, managers, and the organization.
The effects are the following:
- On the production:
- Low quality of production
- Low productivity
- Increase in the wastage of material, spoilage/leakage of machinery
- Increase in the cost of production per unit
- On the employees:
- Increase in the rate of absenteeism and turnover
- Reduction in the level of commitment, sincerity and punctuality
- Increase in the incidence of accidents
- Reduction in the level of employee morale.
- On the managers:
- Strained superior-subordinate relations.
- Increase in the degree of supervision and control.
- Increase in indiscipline cases
- Increase in unrest and thereby machinery to maintain industrial peace
Need for a Formal Procedure to Handle Grievances:
A grievance handling system serves as an outlet for employee frustrations, discontents, and gripes like a pressure release value on a steam boiler. Employees do not have to keep their frustrations bottled up until eventually discontent causes explosion.
The existence of an effective grievance procedure reduces the need of arbitrary action by supervisors because supervisors know that the employees are able to protect such behavior and make protests to be heard by higher management. The very fact that employees have a right to be heard and are actually heard helps to improve morale. In view of all these, every organization should have a clear-cut procedure for grievance handling.
Employee Grievance Handling: Effects
Grievance which indicates discontent and dissatisfaction among employees adversely affects their productivity. In other words, by not initiating timely action to deal with grievance, the organisation tends to lose the productive efforts of the discontented employee. It is indeed unrealistic to assume that an aggrieved or dissatisfied employee will put his or her best efforts on the job. The redressal of the employees’ grievances, therefore, assumes importance.
Following are some effects of grievance handling:
- It encourages employees to raise concerns without fear of reprisal.
- It provides a fair and speedy means of dealing with complaints.
- It prevents minor disagreements developing into more serious disputes.
- It saves employers time and money as solutions are found for workplace problems. It helps to build an organizational climate based on openness and trust.
- It is a channel for an aggrieved employee to express and present his grievance.
- It is an assurance for dispassionate handling of one’s grievance.
- It provides assurance about the availability of some machinery for prompt handling of grievance.
- It is a means by which an aggrieved employee can release his feelings of discontent or dissatisfaction with his/her job.
Employee Grievance Handling Importance
Any feeling of discontent or dissatisfaction usually results in definite and considerable losses to employee morale, efficiency and productivity. Grievances generally give rise to unhappiness, frustration, indifference to work and thus affect the interests of the organization very adversely.
Quite often when minor grievances are accumulated, major problems creap in like work-stoppages: strikes, lockouts and other forms of unpredictable eruption causing long-term damage to productivity. Therefore, it becomes extremely essential to handle the grievances at the earliest possible moment.
Human Resource Manager’s role in grievance redressal is significant and to be successful he must know and understand the causes which lie behind grievances and how to set them right. His skill in observation of behaviourism, attitudes and habits of people may be highly useful in exploring early symptoms of changes in individuals due to unexpressed grievances. Attitude surveys also provide clues to actual or probable grievances and their impact on productivity.
With the help of thorough analysis of the nature and pattern of grievances, the causes of employee dissatisfaction can be removed. The HR manager has to probe deeper into the details of grievances and explore the best possible method of settling them.
He has to help the top management and line managers, particularly supervisors, in the formulation and implementation of the policies, programmes and procedures for effective grievance handling. These policies, programmes and procedures are generally known as the grievance redressal procedure.
The importance of grievance handling lies in the fact that grievances can have several effects which are essentially adverse and counterproductive to organizational objectives. As we have seen, these adverse effects include – indiscipline, unrest, low productivity, poor quality of production, increase in wastage and costs, increase in employee turnover, increase in absenteeism, increase in accident-proneness, loss of interest in work and consequent lack of morale and commitment.
Therefore, management must be alert to signs and symptoms of employee dissatisfaction and attempt to uncover root-causes of the ill-feelings so that harmony and productive results can be achieved in the organization.
If managed or handled properly the importance of effective grievance handling would be following:
(a) Relieve employees from mental pains or suffering.
(b) Employees feel satisfied at workplace.
(c) Develop employees’ interest in their jobs.
(d) Sense of belongingness or attachment develops.
(e) Employees become cooperative at work.
(f) Avoid many labour problems in industry.
(g) Industrial disputes and accidents are avoided.
(h) Develop good industrial relations in industry.
(i) Industrial peace and harmony are maintained and developed further.
(j) Performance of employees improves to a good extent
(k) Production volume and quality improve.
(l) Profitability of the company improves.
(m) Overall effectiveness and reputation of the company in business improves.
(n) Reputation of the company in markets improved.
(o) Contributes in development of employees, society and national economy.
Employee Grievance Handling: Merits and Demerits
- Investigate and handle each and every case as though it may eventually result in an arbitration hearing.
- Talk with the employee about his grievance; give him a good and full hearing.
- Get the union to identify specific contractual provisions allegedly violated.
- Enforce the contractual time limits.
- Comply with the contractual time limits for the company to handle a grievance.
- Determine whether all the procedural requirements, as dictated by the agreement, have been complied with.
- Visit the work area where the grievance arose.
- Determine if there were any witnesses.
- Examine the relevant contract provisions, and understand the contract thoroughly.
- Determine if there has been equal treatment of employees.
- Examine the grievance personal record.
- Fully examine prior grievance records.
- Evaluate any political connotations of the grievance.
- Permit a full hearing on the issues.
- Identify the relief the union is seeking.
- Treat the union representative as your equal.
- Command the respect of the union representatives.
- Hold your grievance discussions privately.
- Provide the grievance process to non-union members as well.
- Satisfy the union’s right to relevant information.
- Demand that proper productivity levels be maintained during the processing of incentive grievances.
- Fully inform your own superior of grievance matters.
- Discuss the case with the union steward alone; the grievant should definitely be there.
- Make agreements with individuals that are inconsistent with the labour agreement.
- Apply the grievance remedy to an improper grievance.
- Hold back the remedy if the company is wrong.
- Admit the binding effect of a past practice.
- Relinquish your authority to the union.
- Settle grievances on the basis of what is fair. Instead, stick to the labour agreement which, after all, should be your standard.
- Make mutual consent agreements regarding future action.
- Bargain over items not covered by the contract.
- Concede implied limitations on your management’s rights.
- Argue grievance issues of the work premises.
- Treat as “arbitral” claims demanding the disciplining or discharge of management members.
- Commit the company in areas beyond your limits of responsibility or familiarity.
- Give away your copy of the written grievance.
- Discuss grievances of striking employees during an illegal work stoppage.
- Settle a grievance when you are in doubt.
- Support another supervisor in a hopeless case.
- Refer a grievant to a different form of adjudication.
- Overlook the precedent value of prior grievance settlement.
- Give long written grievance answers.
- Trade a grievance settlement for a grievance withdrawal (or try to “make up” for a bad decision in one grievance by “bending over backwards” in another).
- Negate the management’s right to promulgate plant rules.
- Deny grievances on the premise that “your hands have been tied by the management.”
- Agree to informal amendments in the contract.