may be any genuine or imaginary feeling of dissatisfaction or injustice which
an employee experiences about his
job and it‘s
It must be expressed by
the employee and brought to the notice of the management and the organization.
Grievances take the form of collective disputes when they are not resolved.
Also they will then lower the morale and efficiency of the employees.
Unattended grievances result in frustration, dissatisfaction, low productivity,
lack of interest in work, absenteeism, etc. In short,
grievance arises when
employees‘ expectations are not fulfille which a feeling of discontentment and
dissatisfaction arises. This dissatisfaction must crop up from employment
issues and not from personal issues.
Grievance may result from the following
working conditions such as strict production standards, unsafe workplace, bad
relation with managers, etc.
management policies such as overtime, transfers, demotions, inappropriate
salary structure, etc.
of organizational rules and practices
The manager should
immediately identify all grievances and must take appropriate steps to
eliminate the causes of such grievances so that the employees remain loyal and
committed to their work. Effective grievance management is an essential part of
personnel management. The managers should adopt the following approach to manage
action- As soon as the grievance arises, it should be
identified and resolved. Training must be given to the managers to
effectively and timely manage a grievance. This will lower the detrimental
effects of grievance on the employees and their performance.
grievance- The manager must acknowledge the
grievance put forward by the employee as manifestation of true and real
feelings of the employees. Acknowledgement by the manager implies that the
manager is eager to look into the complaint impartially and without any bias.
This will create a conducive work environment with instances of grievance
facts- The managers should gather appropriate and
sufficient facts explaining
the grievance‘s nature. A record of such f in later
stage of grievance redressal.
the causes of grievance- The actual cause of grievance
should be identified. Accordingly remedial actions should be taken to
prevent repetition of the grievance.
identifying the causes of grievance, alternative course of actions should be
thought of to manage the grievance. The effect of each course of action on the
existing and future management policies and procedure should be analyzed and
accordingly decision should be taken by the manager.
and review- The manager should execute the decision
quickly, ignoring the fact, that it may or may not hurt the employees
concerned. After implementing the decision, a follow-up must be there to ensure
that the grievance has been resolved completely and adequately.
An effective grievance
procedure ensures an amiable work environment because it redresses the
grievance to mutual satisfaction of both the employees and the managers. It
also helps the management to frame policies and procedures acceptable to the
employees. It becomes an effective medium for the employees to express t
feelings, discontent and dissatisfaction openly and formally.
Objectives of Grievance Handling
Objectives of the grievance handling
procedure are as follows:
enable the employee to air their grievance
clarify the nature of the grievance
investigate the reasons for dissatisfaction
obtain, where possible, a speedy resolution to the problem
take appropriate actions and ensure that promises are kept
To inform the employee of their right to
take the grievance to the next stage of the procedure, in the event of an
Benefits of Grievance Handling
Benefits that accrue to both the
employer and employees are as follows:
encourages employees to raise concerns without fear of reprisal.
provides a fair and speedy means of dealing with complaints.
prevents minor disagreements developing into more serious disputes.
serves as an outlet for employee frustrations and discontents.
It saves employer‘s time and money as
soluti build an organizational climate based on openness and trust.
Details of a grievance procedure/machinery may vary
from organization to organization.
The four stages of the machinery are
briefly discussed here:
1. Initial level at which grievance
The greatest opportunity to redress a grievance is
to resolve it at the initial level at which it occurs.
A worker‘s grievance mmediateshouldboss,the
befirst- lineresolvedsupervisor.The by th first stage of the procedure usually
involves three persons—the aggrieved employee, his immediate
boss and the union representative.
It is possible to
involve the union in laying down the framework of the grievance procedure and
thereafter restrain union involvement in the actual process, at least in the
first two stages. Supervisory role needs to be strengthened, with appropriate
training in problem-solving skills, grievance handling, and counselling.
2. Intermediate stage:
If the dispute is not
redressed at the initia head of the concerned department. It is important that
the management assumes prime
responsibility for the
settlement of a grievance. At the intermediate level, grievance can be settled
with or without union involvement.
3. Organization level:
If a grievance is not
settled at the intermediate level also, it can be referred to the top
management. Usually, a person of a level not less than the general manager
designated for the purpose directly handles the issue. At this level, it is
very difficult to reconcile the conflicting interests.
4. Third-party mediation:
If the grievance has
not been settled bilaterally within the organization, it goes to a third party
for mediation. Arbitration or adjudication or the matter may even be referred
to a labour court. At this stage, the parties concerned lose control over the way
the grievance is settled.
In case of mediation
(conciliation or arbitration), the mediator has no authority to decide, but in
case of the labour court or an adjudicator, the decision will be binding on the
parties, subject to statutory provisions for appeal to higher courts.
At any stage of the
grievance machinery, the dispute must be handled by some members of the
management. In grievance redressal, responsibility lies largely with the
management. And, as already discussed, grievances should be settled promptly at
the first stage itself.
Methods of Identifying Grievances
The following methods can help the employer to
identify the grievances:
1. Directive observation:
Knowledge of human
behaviour is requisite quality of every good manager. From the changed
behaviour of employees, he should be able to snuff the causes of grievances.
This he can do without its knowledge to the employee. This method will give
general pattern of grievances. In addition to normal routine, periodic
interviews with the employees, group meetings and collective bargaining are the
specific occasions where direct observation can help in unfolding the
2. Grip boxes:
The boxes (like
suggestion boxes) are placed at easily accessible spots to most employees in
the organisation. The employees can file anonymous complaints about their
dissatisfaction in these boxes. Due to anonymity, the fear of managerial action
is avoided. Moreover management‘s interest is also limited to the free and fair
views of employees.
3. Open door policy:
Most democratic by
nature, the policy is preached most but practiced very rarely in Indian
organizations. But this method will be more useful in absence of an effective
grievance procedure, otherwise the organisation will do well to have a
grievance procedure. Open door policy demands that the employees, even at the
lowest rank, should have easy access to the chief executive to get his
4. Exit interview:
Higher employee turnover is a problem of every
organisation. Employees leave the organisation either due to dissatisfaction or
for better prospects. Exit interviews may be conducted to know the reasons for
leaving the job. Properly conducted exit interviews can provide significant
information about the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation and can pave
way for further improving the management policies for its labour force.
The following steps
provide a measure of guidance to the manager dealing with grievances:
1. Acknowledge dissatisfaction:
attitude to grievances is important. They should focus attention on grievances,
and not turn away from them. Ignorance is not bliss; it is the bane of
industrial conflict. Arrogant attitude on the part of supervisors and managers
aggravates the problem.
2. Define the problem:
Instead of trying to
deal with a vague feeling of discontent, the problem should be defined
properly. Sometime the wrong complaint is given. By effective listening, one
can make sure that a true complaint is voiced.
3. Get the facts:
Facts should be
separated from fiction. Although grievances result in hurt feelings, the effort
should be to get the facts behind the feelings. There is need for a proper record
of each grievance.
4. Analyse and decide:
Decisions on each
grievance will have a precedent effect. While no time should be lost in dealing
with them, it is no excuse to be slipshod about it. Grievance settlements
provide opportunities for managements to correct themselves, and thereby come
closer to the employees. Horse-trading in grievance redressal due to union
pressures may temporarily bring union leadership closer to the management, but
it will surely alienate the workforce away from the management.
5. Follow up:
Decisions taken must be
followed up earnestly. They should be promptly communicated to the concerned
employee. If a decision is favourable to the employee, their immediate boss
should have the privilege of communicating the same.