Grievance: Informal grievance
An employee has raised a concern, problem or complaint but, at this stage, wants to deal with it on an informal basis.
Arrange an informal meeting
Decide who is the best person to conduct the meeting. In most instances, this will be the immediate line manager although this will not be appropriate in all cases, particularly if the employee’s issue is with their manager.
The informal meeting
• Ensure there is a comfortable, open atmosphere
• Ensure there are no interruptions
• Allow the employee to air their concerns
• Ask sufficient questions to ensure a full understanding of the matters at hand
• Take notes to ensure that an accurate record of the discussions is kept
• Summarise your understanding of the issues to ensure accuracy
• Ask the employee how they would ideally like the matter resolved.
• Consider whether a solution can be found immediately
• If this is possible, agree the solution with the employee
• Reflect this agreement in the notes
• Place all notes on the employee’s personnel file
• Act on the agreed solution to avoid the informal complaint becoming formal
• Agree proposed timescales.
No immediate resolution – investigation required
• If an immediate solution is not possible, agree next steps which would normally involve some form of investigation
• Promptly speak to all appropriate personnel or external witnesses, preferably face to face but if this is not possible, by phone. Try to avoid e-mail as matters can be more easily misinterpreted
• Question and challenge responses to ensure the matter is fully understood and appreciated by all concerned
• Take notes to ensure that an accurate record of the investigation meetings and discussions is kept
• Analyse any appropriate key information – figures/e-mails/letters/feedback forms etc.
• Meet informally again
• Communicate your findings and confirm any actions that you intend to take
• Take notes
• Place all notes on the employee’s personnel file.