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With most businesses still operating in a work from home capacity, it is natural employees may be facing certain grievances that cannot be delayed till ‘normal service’ resumes. Some of these grievances may have to be dealt with immediately. What then can you do to tackle these situations whilst adhering to social distancing rules?
Firstly, define the grievance. Simply put, employee grievance can be characterized as the difference between employee expectations and reality. Whether the grievance is justified or not is an altogether different matter, what’s important is the HR manager should take out time to understand the problems faced by the employee and address them in a cautious and just manner. It may be difficult to pinpoint the issue at the first glance however there are some tips that the HR personnel can employ to manage employee grievances remotely. These are:
Timing is an essential part when it comes to addressing employee grievances. It sends out a signal that what’s ailing the workers’ matters to the management. If it’s a matter pertaining to employee appraisal, it can be easily resolved by setting up a remote meeting at the earliest convenience. If the concern is of a more personal and delicate nature, one needs to weigh whether putting the grievance on hold can have a negative impact on the employee morale and mental health and take action accordingly. To keep on top of such occurrences, one need to monitor employee’s behavior periodically, schedule one on one conversation to know their mind or arrange for employee counseling sessions.
A lot of the times employees feel hesitant about discussing their grievances with the HR manager thinking that what they would discuss would somehow find its way into the ear of their reporting manager. This can be solved by placing anonymous suggestion boxes in the office. But that isn’t possible when employees are working remotely. An easy workaround is creating a Google Form and asking employees to answer questions anonymously. These questions may relate to any changes they want should be made in the work policy or pertaining to mental health.
Be there for your workers. Let them know you're just a text or call away. Employees aren’t going to come forward with their grievances if they see no action is being taken upon them. If you as the HR manager find their grievance holds water, take action on an immediate basis.
With remote working reducing the opportunity for a face to face conversation, HR managers have their task cut out for them. It's not always easy to decipher the reason for low morale of employees. There could be myriad reasons for their predicament: being away from family/friends, being stuck at home due to lockdown, work pressure or a personal loss. Thing is unless the HR manager engages in a heart-to-heart conversation and discovers the underlying reason for the employee grievance, he wouldn’t be in a position to resolve it.
Scheduling regular check-in sessions with employees to enquire about their wellbeing, light chit-chat asking about their day or weekend can make employees feel safe and valued leading them to opening up about any issues that may be troubling. These sessions can take place either on chat, voice/video call.
Through HR Pearls Modules you can keep tabs on employee attendance, shift timings, as well as their leaves allowing you to find out if anything unusual happens. Moreover, with the HR helpdesk module, employees can air their grievances and let the HR manager know if they're facing any issue at work.